The mostly humorous ramblings of my day to day existence.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

All of My Groupies

You would think with a title like that I would be talking about my panty throwing fans, and I suppose if I had any panty throwing fans then even I would be a little surprised. But panty throwers isn't what I want to talk about.
After sitting here at midnight watching two snails crawl around a lettuce leaf placed in our fish tank, my thoughts turn to all of the different groups of people I connected with today. My interactions varied, and my head had to switch gears with every group. It was like riding a bicycle in the Tour de Pants of the brain, but without having to wear tight pants.
I spent time today with a group of people who I've never met in person, but I've know some of these people for over 15 years. I started playing the multi-player game called Subspace on my brand new Windows 95 running computer in 1997. “Meet people from around the world... then kill them” has been their motto forever. But if you think I'm talking about a game where gibs. (short for giblets) are splatting on the computer screen then you would be wrong, this game involves little space ships like the early video game Asteroids. You team up with players and shoot the little ships of the opposing teams with your little ship, and when you blow up, you get a fresh little ship. The game is very social with people talking to each other constantly, and about any subject. There is a lot of smack talk, but you also get to meet and talk to people from everywhere. Players have names like “Axe Demento,” “The Prince of Pain,” and “Mr. Bhole.” I'm known as “A Boomstick!” in the game, and am known for my witty retorts to noodle brains that don't know how to use the English language. Noodle brains like to communicate using text messaging shorthand words like STFU noob, lmfao, and OMG. I actually changed my name in the game from “Firkroy” to “A Boomstick!” sometime back because of the online column that I created and subsequent blog. I didn't want stupid people following me around the Internet, and I think a few of them have a grudge. Which brings me to my next group, The Expats.
The Expats is my writing group that ultimately came together after we simultaneously had a Popeye the Sailor moment and declared “That's all I can stands, cuz I can't stands n'more!” with an online website where we originally met. We ate our spinach, and then like washed ashore shipwreck survivors we had a gathering on Facebook. It was amazing how much we all clicked together. Our love for writing, and more importantly, writing with integrity created a stronger bond than I think anyone could have imagined. I couldn't have asked for a greater community of writers to hang out with. They give me inspiration every day to be more creative, and the confidence I need to move forward. I just love this eclectic group!
Another group that I just recently started working with is Oregon Veterans' Heart. Formerly the Eugene chapter of Veterans for Peace, this group of veterans is committed to making a real difference in our community for veterans. They are involved in the Egan warming center that provides shelter for the homeless when it gets cold , and with the Truth in Recruiting program through the Community Alliance of Lane County. The goal is to counter the misinformation that military recruiters share with students, and to promote alternatives to military service. Veterans' Heart is one part of my lifetime journey of self understanding and healing after my 15 year involvement with the U.S. Military. I volunteered to create a website that is still in the works, and to help with other activities. It gives me great comfort being around people who understand how I feel, and who care so much about others. There is a communal knowledge that runs through us, and an understanding about what each of us has gone through. Sometimes it just feels nice to be around people who understand.
Another journey in my life started when I found out I was a parent of a child with autism. Membership in this group was free, and doing everything in my power for my child was the only option. We have networked with many parents who also have children with similar challenges, and have embarked on a lifetime of learning about the unique person who is my son. We support great programs like Bridgeway House in Eugene Oregon that serves the needs of children with autism and related developmental disabilities while educating and supporting their families. They put on a play once a year, that is not a fund raiser, but rather a showcase of what these kids can do. So much effort is put into helping these kids sometimes we can loose track of how amazing they are. My wife has embarked on a Master degree in Special Education with an emphases on autism as a result of our son's needs; she's an amazing woman with a fortitude that I didn't know existed when I married her. The military instilled a “failure is not an option” attitude toward life in me that has helped me push forward through tough times. That kind of tenacity came to my wife naturally.
Which brings me to my favorite group of all, my family, without them I'm really nothing. My spouse has saved me from myself more times than she realizes, and my kids are my world of joy. Yes, they can be challenging, but would I have ever grown up at all without them? I doubt it. They keep me on my toes and teach me what it is to be human. I watch my children with amazement when they accomplish things I never imagined they could, and I can see my influences on them every day. If it weren't for my family I would have never known the joys and challenges that parents experience. Being a parent is the toughest job I have ever had, but it's the most rewarding thing I've ever done.
Groups are always in flux, and don't stay the same throughout life. New groups will find me, and old groups will have new members. I haven't seen The Prince of Pain in some time, and I just got to know Axe Demento who is working on writing a novel. I think Mr. Bhole will probably always live up to his name, but he provides me with cheap entertainment.
My family will always be the most important group in my life, real friends will always be there for me, and I for them. Because your groups and the people in them are really what life is all about.

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