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The Dashing Life and Exuberant Times of Brian Harrison....And Other Rare Anecdotes

Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Memoirs from a Greyhound Bus

Yes, I sit here. The swaying of this transportational beast, this wildness of the New England highway. Crammed in these seats like sardines being shipped off all over the state of New York. Ryan and I have had full 2 1/2 days of fun, frustration, and vast structures of steel and concrete shooting up towards the skies. I will try to share some of our experiences thus far, though forgive the length for I must set it down in writing, and I have 10 hours on this bouncy, bobbing bus to compose it all in.
I arrived in New York last Tuesday. Flew in from Nashville. As the plane eased up to the terminal of La Guardia Airport, I was peeking out the aircraft's window and could see in to the waiting room the head of Ryan Woods, my longtime buddy from Adventures in Missions. He had arrived an hour before and was waiting on me, and the two of us were to hit the Big Apple together seeing all the highlights our eyes could take in within 48 hours.
We both greeted each other in the terminal there very unceremoniously, and then we took off to find the quickest route into the core of New York City. Ryan is getting to be quite the traveling companion. We've gallivanted around Central Europe together, and we've journeyed through Greece sharing many strange, bizarre, and outlandish adventures. This time we would take NYC by a restless shoe-souled storm. Then we would find some way to spring northwards to Canada, for the wedding of Jeremy, another old time friend.
We hopped on a bus that would take us to the nearest subway station. To crack the secret code of a city you must start underground first. The subway or metro is by far the easiest way to figure out how to get to major places within a city. I knew this living in Moscow, and Ryan knew this living in Lisbon. So we caught a bus that ran through the Queens and that took us to the nearest subway station.
We finally approached Manhattan from underground, and then we emerged up from the depths into the streets, the smog, the towering artifices and bustling of life. Traffic heaved and hawed through all the streets, people of all different types and assortments passed by from dizzying directions. Our packes weighed heavily upon our shoulders and we decided to leave our bags someplace. This turned out more difficult than we had first imagined. Everyone in NY is paranoid. Ever since 9-11, everyone's watching frantically to escape any possibility that another terrorist attack might occur. The only 4-letter word in NY that you dare not say is B-O-M-B. So, ridiculous measures are carried out within the city to ward off every ridiculous possibility. That is why Ryan and I found it difficult to find a place in Manhattan to leave our bags. There were no longer such things as rental lockers. Everyone feared underground terrorists groups would direct their explosive trafficking through such dangerous, but in any other city, quite convenient rental lockers.
Now that I've said that Ryan and I felt like 2 tortoises taking Manhattan in an exhaustive rush, not like ninja turtles, more like clueless swamp tortoises from Galapagos. That was until a stroke a genius fell about Ryan and as we passed by the New York City Public Library, he had the idea to drop off our bags in the cloak room. Yes, one of the largest libraries in the nation, in the world possibly. We would pretend as though we were going inside to pore through countless volumes, and after dropping our bags off at the guarded cloak room, we skirmished through the library and walked right outside the back door, our backs free from any burden.
We walked and walked tryng to figure out this monster of a city, taking in its whole diverse atmosphere. Then we had to make it to Broadway for the showing of the David Letterman Show. Ryan was told that we could get in with free admission with its secret code, "Tiffany's Gold List". -That if we just say that to the doorman he would take us to our reserved seats. Well, we did so, and as it turned out we were made to wait at the end of a long line instead of being able to skip the front like I thought. And as we found out we learned that everyone was given this secret code, so everyone thought that they had special knowledge and was getting special treatment. We all stood packed inside, and the greeters began to greet and boy did they put on a show. They beamed and smiled and waved and yakked on and on. All in an attempt to to make you energetic and ready for a laugh. Then one of the greeters stood up and and told us all that our laughter was all very important in making today a good show. That if we gave David enough energy and laughs, then he would he return, give us also more energy and laughter. We were told if David tells a joke and we weren't very sure whether it was funny or not, decide that joke is funny and laugh anyways. Our laughter was the most important thing. And when we laugh we weren't supposed to give just a simple "he-he", we were to roar. After this speech, Ryan and I decided that David Letterman probably had self-confidence issues and wasn't very sure his show was funny or not. I guess, he's aware of Conan O'Brein who is 3 times as funny, and who Ryan and I would rather see. But beggars most not be choosers, so we realized that the both of us could make Letterman more secure by laughing our hardiest.
We sat in there while the greeters still harassed everyone into a good time clapping to the music and smiling really Wal-mart like. Then Dave showed up by running out onto the stage with white shoes on. He read his jokes. But with all the cue cards that got the way, the whole things seemed so fake. But regardless of this, Ryan and I determined to make Dave feel like a funny guy so we laughed our best laugh. Then the guests appeared. The first guest, we need not give a fake laugh for, because he was already funny enough. He was none other than Adam Sandler. The next guest was this Basketball player with the last name of Miller who had just retired. I don't remember much but I'm glad Dave only talked him a few minutes. And then the musical guest were the Wallflowers who are pretty good. All in all it was a good show. Ryan claims that Adam Sandler winked at him, but I think its just one of his idiosyncracies where he squints his eyes for comical effect. But I could be wrong.
The next couple of hours we walked around haplessly around Times Square and a small portion of Manhattan. Before the show we walked through a piece of Central Park, but everything seemed so much bigger than it does by map. Eventually we winded up going to supper in the Village. We were told that the Village was a neat scene at night, so we started walking those streets and came upon a cafe that seemed to have not outrageous prices like everything else in NYC. We sat down, in this quiant-looking, sophisticated restaraunt only to realize by the dim candlelights that we were probably the only 2 straight guys in there. A waiter approached us, and let me tell you, he was a real sweetie. We were too tired and our feet were killing us to go look for some other place. So, we took off our socks and shoes, for podiastric relief, and hid our aching feet underneath the table. I spilled water on the table cloth and rambled on to Ryan in a very gruff voice, and i think such acts let any male predators know that we weren't from their side of the tracks if you know what I mean. I did not think it was an explicit gay bar, I just believe it was just our luck to walk into a diner where many queenies frequent. Next time, I will take notice of guys who look like they are discussing cooking recipes with girls in the front and men dining with other men with over-gelled hair.
After that, we went to the bus and train terminals to see about getting tickets to Canada. WE initially wanted to take the train, but no trains were going up there for the time that we wanted. We were taking a break at the Dunkin Donuts when this rough looking beggar came up to me. He immediately saw my cash flash inside my wallet and asked if i could spare a dollar. He was completely in my face and i was not getting a very good feeling about this. So, I was just reaching in my pocket to give him some change, when he wouldn't take it. He said that he wanted a dollar. I began to get angry and level with him that he should take what is offered. He then said that he would follow me around and pester me until I gave him a dollar. And then he mumbled something about "that i would pay", and he reached in his pocket as though he had something dangerous inside of it, maybe a knife or a gun. so i was getting ready to spring at him. Though I doubted his stupidity, this whole scene taking place around alot of people, but Moscow had taught me never doubt the stupidity nor the cruelty of others. So, I gave him that dollar and then he said that he would be blessed if he could have 5 dollars. I laughed in his face, and he kept pestering me. Then Ryan, a great mediator, said that if he got us to this certain bus station that we were looking for than we would give him 5 dollars. I sort of liked this idea, but sort of didn't like the idea of this thug dragging us around New York. He gave us the name of this bus station and how to get there, and then with a quick dart he snatched the 5 dollars I had in my hand, and ran off. I thought to follow him and demand my money back, but perhaps wisdom prevented me. So, after that little incident I was pretty angry and decided because of that idiot let these street crooks all starve for all I care. I didn't go around showing my wallet around much after that.
We had to rush off just as quickly to the local train station after finding the bus station in order to get to our place of stay in New York. We rode for an hour and a half northwards to this little town. Ryan had connections with a christian family. In fact, the day of Ryan's wedding back almost 2 years ago, their son, Benjamin was the ring bearer. They were friends of Ryan's wife, who couldn't make the trip being back in Washington State pregnant. We arrived at their house at 1:30 am, Mrs Sherry, the mother, was so nice and all, picking us up from the train station at that hour and giving us place to stay. We went to bed very soon. I slept in a room surrounded by romance trash novels, but unfortunately I was much too tired to pore through any of them. And so closed our first day of this long saga of a story. They'll be more later.

Sunday, May 22, 2005

The Emergence of Summer

So, I've finished my first full year at Harding University. Like I've told everyone, I'm not in love with it like a majority of its students are, but then I'm not disdainful of it either. I share a sort of lukewarm relationship with Searcy. I already sort of miss it after living a week in Dothan. Needless to say, I was sort of glad to get out of there in one piece. The whole essence of the place tasted as if you had just crammed this huge slice of wedding cake in your mouth and then trying to read, or drive, or even talk or pray. All the while during these normal functions you have this gigantic piece of wedding cake in your mouth. Which ironically, after digesting it all and wiping the icing off the face, its got me reminiscing, and looking forward to my next plate.
I have been blessed in getting to know alot of good friends through Harding. But it seems that more people know me than I them. Or at least they've heard about me. It was last Monday, I was over by the punch bowl in my leisure suit. It was the wedding of my roommate. The same roommate that spent his nights fast asleep above me, while I on the bottom bunk lay there until sleep finally fell upon me. The punchbowl girl poured me a glass and introduced herself. We got to talking and it was revealed that I was "The Ruskie" whom she had heard so much about. This girl apparantly was a student at Harding, though I don't recall ever laying eyes on her. The title "The ruskie" is what my roommates and their whole intellegentsia group like to refer to me as because I had lived so long in Russia. Later, different family members of the wedding couple came up to me saying, "Oh, so this is the ruskie whom we have heard talked about." But to be absolutely honest, I do not know if such news is positive or negative. But I guess, even slightly negative attention can be not all that bad. At least one can know that a year of his life has had some significance. And now I hope to have only a semester left and I will be a college grad, if that means anything.
I made it back in Dothan for the arrival of summer. My sister, Brittney, as usual was in the midst of her social life. -And I hopped right in. For some reason or other for which I can't explain, we Harrison siblings have quite the reputation. Whenever two or more of us gather, you know something wild, unpredictable, and spontaneous is about to occur. So for some reason the other night, Brittney, three of her friends, myself, and my friend Jovan, all ended up pulling some humorous prank on some luckless soul that happened to be at the wrong place at the wrong time. I would get into all this but, I'm afraid it would take too long to describe. It just involved toilet paper, an anonymous letter, car chases and spur-of-the-moment innovation, things that we Harrisons take pride in. I guess to quote a similiar notorious family description, "we're just the good ole boys (and girl), never meanin' no harm. Beats all you ever saw, been in trouble with the law since the day they were born."-Waylon Jennings.
Speaking of "trouble with the law" and crazy car stunts. I don't have a driver's license now. It's been suspended for the past month. And I won't get it back until July 7th. I got too many speeding tickets in a year. So the law, believe it or not, took away my license for awhile. Of course, this has happened to my brother also. Such an event is not entirely new to the Harrison family. But for awhile, this prompted no hindrance. As stupid as this may sound, I still drove while in Arkansas, just being a bit more careful, because I didn't want to go to jail which would happen if I got caught. But now, I am absolutely without a vehicle. My dad came up to Searcy and gave me a ride back to Alabama. We towed my car back for the engine is making some ugly sounds and now my little white Honda is in some shop up in Birmingham, while I sit at home without a vehicle in Dothan. But not for long, for I am about to head up to Nashville tomorrow riding with my sister. And there I'm to board a plane and head for New York City and meet my friend Ryan from Washington, and then after gallivanting around the Big Apple for 2 days we take a train up to Canada for our friend, Jeremy's big day. So, I'm looking forward to this coming week and I should have lots to write about.

Sunday, May 08, 2005

Operation Dewey Decimal

Who knows why I do the things that I do. A person can spend his whole lifetime calling out for an answer for his own actions and he will be disappointed with his own response, which is always, "Well, it sounded like a neat thing to do."
Yes, some friends of mine and I decided to spend the night in the library the other night. Logically, there is no fundamental reason for such a venture. But when the idea formed in our devious brains, it was something that we must do. My accomplices were an excellent bunch. They were as follows:
Josh A.K.A. Monkey Boy: raised in the jungles of Africa, he become notorious around campus for scaling walls, buildings, and trees just for the sheer sake of it.
The Irrepressible Scott: an actual RA throwing off his responsibilities for a night. Was known to hold the record for the most number of unintentional chapel skips.
Myself, or as they know me, "The Wanderer": knew hidden niches to hide in from our campus to Bangkok.
You could tell that our team had to build itself up with only the most elite. Our perilous operation could only be carried out by an allstar cast. To fail was not an option. We planned it carefully of how we should accomplish our project.
9:00pm- Enter open library with backpack. Have pillow stuffed inside. Walk to the Nursing and Nutrition section, where the huge volumes are, and no one is pleasure browsing. Quickly stuff pillow behind volumes. Then back outside to get sleeping bag the same way. Up the stairs again and find Josh at table studying Greek. His personals are already secure on same aisle. Go visit with the upstairs librarian, happens to be none other than the library girl you sort of dated 2 months ago. Great! This may just all backfire. Talk to her. Give her attention. Let her know that you are not avoiding her. Then with a "have-a-nice-finals-week" assure yourself of her lack of suspicion of tonight's operation. Get Josh and move into operation zone, that is one of the large study rooms with table, and then wait for Scott and for closing time.
10:15pm- Two girls arrive who know of our plan they laugh, then Scott finally shows up. It's showtime. Grab chair and pull back against wall climb up on chair and push back the ceiling panel. Then grab wall and hoist yourself up into the ceiling. Josh hands you the backpacks. The girls giggle. Then in quick movement Josh is up in the ceiling with you. Just then staff member walks by and motioning that it's closing time, the girls and Scott fly out of there. We put back the panel thinking that our 3rd member wasn't going to make it. Just then Scott's head peaks where the panel was, and I help him get up. His legs barely swing up past the ceiling when the door below swings open and the library girl walks in. Scott and I both freeze having not put back the panel. She collects the books left on the table and moves our climbing chair placing it appriopriately under table. We stare at the top of her pretty head. If she had only looked up she would have seen us looking down at her grinning. She walks out oblivious. The lights are now dim. Scott moves to grab book on panel and move the panel back in place when panel and book go crashing down into the room. Oh no! We both freeze again. Surely library girl heard that, and will see the panel and book lying on the floor. For seconds which seemed like hours Scott and I whisper what to do. He's frozen. So, i guess that nominates me to go back down and hide panel and book. So I drop down. And take a quick peak outside and realize that we are now alone.
10:40pm- The first half of our operation is successful. We are in and the Brackett Library is closed. Many lights are still on throughout the library though the whole place is vacant. We move to get our pillows behind some of the books. I jump into my aqua-blue pajama suit. Like I've always thought, if you're gonna do something crazy, you might as well do it with style. I also brought some Slim Jims; no camping excursion is complete without them. Occassionally a wall would creak or the air conditioning would make a sound and we would take to the aisles thinking that it was security coming to get us. The next couple of hours are spent doing unmentionable stunts which i won't bother the reader explaining. Though we sneak eventually downstairs to see if the rumor was true that there are surveilliance cameras downstairs. We find evidence of one camera, though we seriously doubt its on. We check our email on the online computers in the library. ( I even thought about writing half this blog from there.)
2:30am- We eventually fall asleep in one of the study rooms.
5:30am- Lights beam from the main section of the library. We dart up out of sleep. It's the early morning custodian crew. Then one by one we creep back up through the paneling in the ceiling with no more than a hushed whisper. Then up in this dusky attic we lay our sleeping bags back out on the sheetrock to commence sleep. Josh and I explore around in the attic and I find a ladder that leads up to the roof. We emerge from the roof just as the sun his emerging from the horizon. I watch the sunrise for awhile. Then go back down and try to sleep some more.
6:45am- I can't sleep while the other guys are snoring softly. Hungry, bored, and full of energy, I wonder how hard it would be to sneak out past the custodians. So I drop down the newly found ladder and out of this utility closet and there sneak around the bookshelves. I am almost spotted by an old codger who happened to be looking down instead of up. I wait for this old lady staff worker to walk back into the offices downstairs then, I creep downstairs and go to the front door, unlock it and then, I'm free. And I'm still in my aqua-blue pajama suit and now with this very wild bed hair. I end up going to Burger King and getting a sausage biscuit. I wait for the library to open.
7:45am- Library opens. I walk inside and back up the stairs. This time that old man is right beside the same utility closet tinkering a constructable bookshelf. I grab a book off a shelf and go back to our original operation zone. I close the door to the study room and sit down to read. I then stand up in my chair and move the panel back to tell the guys the difficult situation of how quiet they're gonna half to be coming down. That old man is right above them. Just then, an old lady walks by the door peeking in the window and then opens the door very quickly. I drop from standing position to sitting position. She asks what am I doing. I assure her that I was just moving the panel back that someone had moved. She knew better. Great! Now, I'm under suspicion and she will be watching me. Mind you, i'm still in my aqua blue pajama suit and wild unkempt hair.
8:15am- I leave that room as quickly as I can and go to the next adjoining study room. Move the chair back against wall, and slide panel over, so well that it's gotten to be an art form. And up in the ceiling explaining the situation to the guys. How the floor below is swarming with adult staff. We search around the attic looking for an alternative spot for retreat. All we come up with is to just come down the same place we went up, but do it as quietly and as quickly as we possibly could. I shimmer down first and run over to the door and shut it once more. They drop the backpacks. Then they drop down. We dust the sheet rock dust off of us and emerge from the library as if nothing but intense studying had happened. We left our sleeping bags up there. You can't just go waltzing out of library holding a sleeping bag. I, later that day, climb back up using the ladder, grabbing the sleeping bags, and then up to the roof with them, I cast them over the side. And then hurry down the ladder and out of the library and pick up the sleeping bags off the ground and throw them into my trunk.
8:45- We walk out of library, having accomplished our mission. We walk towards the Benson Auditorium just in time for chapel, all of us feeling satisfactory, and I still in my aqua-blue pajamas and my wild unruly, tousled-about hair.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

The Propensity of Clamorous Typology; A Case Study in Versimilitudes

Let me tell you things can get a bit hectic on that last wearisome leg of a semester. I have been booking it for the past 2 weeks, trying to get ponderous projects unlocked and unchained from my mind. Let me admit to you all the trials that an English major goes through during the last couple of weeks in a year.
All English professors have this thing, quite a compulsion really, that they must assign if they are to feel adequate teachers. These necessities of theirs, which is a blight to most of those who are not in the English field, and still is not an amusement park for us English majors, are called "papers". Here I will stop and define "paper" as that tedious collection of letters, words, sentences, and paragraphs, that must, by threat of termination, be placed in a very strict and very iron-clad rigidity that makes any element of interest impossible to a normal human being, and which is virtually only comprehensible to those priveleged few who hold a doctorate in English. Being the rebel that I am, I have found such confinement above and beyond the proper place of the usual tyranny in the school houses. Therefore, I have always, since I could scribble characters onto their beloved "papers", had my own revolting answer to their dictatorship. I remember once as a freshman, my professor assigned a persuasive argument "paper" for us to do. Well, I tell you, I took that little paper and argued why handwritten papers are better than typed ones. I thought it was a sound argument and I had good points to push for. Then I managed to live up to my ideal, of course, by handwriting the whole thing. Needless, to say like the Boston Tea Party (p357), the tyrant didn't like my flair. I received a D and a gruff "What do you think this is?" If only that old croon could seee me writting now, and how,...;i've took dat educasion and not seem'd too do all that not badd. Ain't it, stagirin' zhe Olaf of the grits an parroting muscodines.....;<,,:")7jldf79...oooohh!!! Look at Me! I can write whatever I dang well please! and however I dang well like to! And no red ink pen's gonna be hovering over this piece of writing! And more people(or at least I hope) read this than will ever read all those stuffy papers that I've meticulously penned!
In conclusion, I have written, this semester, A Jungian Interpretation on Saul Bellow's Henderson the Rain King, which is a staggering display of the protaganist's psychological and spiritual pathway towards full ego-development and individuation in the symbolic journey through the wilderness of Africa. It's a very neat novel. I highly recommend it. I also recommend the study of the psychological theories of Jung, which is, not to sound too snobbish, a frequent study of my own.
I then had to come up with an annotated bibliography for an interesting author of the English language. I chose the British romantic poet Lord Byron. I also highly recommend this fellow. Especially his Don Juan. What more of a plot narrative do you need for this book to entice you than saying it's about this guy who travels the world seducing women.
I then had this huge, behemoth of a task for one of my classes. It was, oh and I had great fun with this, and I ain't being sarcastic either, but I had to create my own language with its own people and their own history. I had to make a dictionary and a grammatical display of my new language. I put my mind to the creative grinding axe and hacked out the language and history of the Babelations. Yes, that's right...they were the direct descendants of the actual construction crew of the tower of Babel. They were a tribe that were forever cursed to drift and float around the seas, on their own crumbled and iced over creation, the tower. When their ancestors experienced the fall of Babel, every single individual was stuck, from the traumatic event, in whatever they were doing. And that would be their mode of communication. Some people were screaming, some snoring, some hammering while whistling, while others sawed and hummed. Nevertheless, all the components that could possibly exist as human expressions, at least one ancestor of this tribe was found doing. So the language of the Babelations was created when this whole cursed people got together and used every single one of these expressions to modify their own systematic way of communicating. This was founded of their king, "Son-of-a...", who you can probably guess what he was doing at the time of the Great Crumbling. And from that point on all their kings were titled as "Son-of-a" and so their lineage would run as such "Son-of-a" son of son of a son of son of a....well you get the point. Anyways during the Edict of the 816,458th, which is the exact number of meetings it took before such a language could be created....Okay, I'm prattling....I'm prattling just like an English professor would, I can't believe myself....all my pouring out of my contempt for the academia and this is what it's come to, that I become one of them. No, blast it all! I refuse. There fore I will not yield to their way of things, yes I said it...things. Not habitual undertakings, not esoteric diligence,...but things! The proverbial nightmarish word of all English professors, and like, if they don't...(notice I also used the word 'like') then let them, like, cringe. Ordinarily, I would round up my thoughts into a punching little sentence to end on, but since I will not become like those scholastic snivelsnerds, I will just finish this blog the way business majors and automechanics and most everyone else does, by simply stating what I will be doing as soon as I finish writing this. Thus: Gotta go...run home maybe grab something to eat and before I hit the sack, finish that short story of Dosteovsky.

Works Cited
Bartebly, Francis: The Aquatic Lifestyle of the Tunisian Wombat:1976.
Wottengenstinsburg, Ernst: Steinbeck's Nasal Infections Vol 3:1983.