Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Hints of Spring

by George Haws
Adjunct Faculty

Spring will be here in two months ---
 and winter will be over in about three months.
With that in mind, I thought I would share a poem with you:

Winter has wonderment all of her own,
Like the stark naked trees with a dusting of snow,
Snowflakes and snowmen and other snow sights,
Dark hours made cheery with holiday lights.

But they’ll never compare, all those wintry things,
To earth’s welcome hints of the upcoming spring.

A sunny warm day greets us now and again;
Stiff, frozen soil begins thawing and then—
With all of the glory that in nature is found,
The daffodils rise up from cracks in the ground!

They serve as reminders of the rest that will come,
Of all spring’s delights—I will now mention some:

Tree buds open up with their tiny new leaves—
“They’re alive!” we cry out with excitement and glee.
The snakes slither slowly from cold, borrowed holes
And stretch out to sun on the rocks and the road.

Throttling calls come from high in the sky
And we look up and strain to see cranes flying by.

New-hatched chicks scurrying ‘round, newborn calves being fed,
Flowers and gardens and rain on our heads,
New life and new hope, new green grass, welcome warmth.
It seems the whole world has a thrilling new birth!

Yes, all of the wonder of the cold time of year
Can never quite thrill like the thought, “Spring is near!”

 ©2008 George A. Haws

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Movie Mania

 By Jadin Bussell and Andrew Jarvis

Many people already know that you can rent books at the NPCC library, big surprise. But did you know that you can also rent movies? They have movies ranging from ‘Surviving the Dustbowl’ to ‘Deadpool’! They have movies from every genre. Looking for a Romantic Comedy? Try ‘The Ugly Truth’. A gritty action movie? Maybe ‘300’ would be an entertaining option.  

Maybe you’re looking for a good movie, but you don’t feel like walking all the way to the library to see if they MIGHT have a movie you’re interested in. You can always check MPCC’s library tab and search “Movies on DVD” and a full catalog of the libraries available titles will be presented. From there you can refine your search to specific genres or just search for a specific movie.

Many people living here on campus don’t take these selections to their full advantage. You can check these movies out for a week with no overdue late fees (but if you lose it or break it, you will have to replace it). Movies right now are being checked out at 12 books to every 1 movie. Instead of driving 10 minute to go check the nearest red box and pay to rent a movie, just come down to the MPCC library and rent one for free. 

The staff are more than willing to help you out. Sky Seery is the Area Assistant Director of Learning Resource Centers. She is the head of the area libraries. Monique Myers is the Library Assistant along with Regina Hanson, and Lisa Kramer. You can find one of these ladies in the library located in Room 146 of the McDonald-Belton Hall.

The libraries hours vary from day to day. Monday-Thursday they are open from 7:30am-9:30pm, Friday 7:30am-4:30pm, Sunday 3:30pm-8:00pm and they are closed on Saturdays. If you have any questions concerning the library you can contact them at (308)-535-3726 or by email at library@mpcc.edu.

The Belief Betrayal

By Jamie Williams (student pseudonym)

“Jamie, if my brother were older would you date him?” I stared ahead as we walked, a grin starting to dance around on my face. 

I looked down at her and jokingly said, “Shay, you know I’m absolutely in love with your brother, but there’s just one tiny problem. It’s him. He’s too short.” Shaylee gave me the exact reaction I expected her to give me for that statement. 

“I knew you were gonna say he’s too short! Ya know, he’s got a great personality, and maybe if you weren’t a giant, height wouldn’t be such an issue to you!” 

It was exceedingly easy for me to know how she’d react to things. We’d been best friends for a little under three years, so nothing she did ever shocked me anymore. I knew that if I whispered the words “lovers” or “passionate” to her, she’d physically cringe, because she thought those words were repulsive. I knew if I pointed my sharp, arrowhead-like tongue at her she would scrunch her face up, so wrinkles formed around her eyes while she stepped backwards to get away from my “weird tongue”, and I knew that if I yelled at her even the slightest bit, she would stare at me in dismay for no more than three seconds before proceeding to cry.  I knew her. That’s just how it was.

We continued on. I was still smiling about her predictability, and she, for whatever reason, was silent and staring straight ahead as if she were looking for something far off in the distance. By then, I’d figured she was silent because she wanted to tell me something. Before I could ask her what she was thinking about, she stopped, turned to me in a very deliberate fashion with a grin on her face, and asked, “Okay, so if you wouldn’t date my brother because he’s short, then you definitely wouldn’t date me?” 

Deciding I should tease her a little bit, I replied, “Shaylee, you’re great. I mean you’re not as amazing as your brother, but you’re still pretty fantastic. But…there’s just one small problem. You, like your brother, are way too short for me.” I couldn’t keep a straight face as I finished my sentence, because Shaylee’s laughing eyes instantaneously turned into daggers that shot through me as soon as I mentioned the word “short”. I began to laugh, and so did she.
As we continued walking, Shaylee fell back into her state of silence. Suddenly, she stopped walking as if she had come face to face with an invisible wall that prevented her from moving forward. A serious expression covered her face.

 “Jamie”, she began, “I have to tell you something.” 

I stopped moving and looked at her. “Okay, go ahead.” 

She closed her eyes for a split second, breathed in a small breath, and exhaled through her nose. “I’m…I’m gay.” My relaxed face unintentionally dropped into a grimacing, disapproving expression. Shaylee, noticing the change in my countenance, worriedly tried to continue her confession in a manner that would make me seem less disapproving. She stumbled on her words, trying to justify herself. “Well, I…I’m not 100% gay. I’m actually bi…bisexual.” I continued to stare at her with disgust. 

Then I spoke. “How long have you lied to my face about this? I tell you everything, and you’ve never felt like telling me you’re gay?” 

Her eyes began to tear up as she spoke. “I didn’t know how to tell you. I’ve wanted to for so long, but I…I didn’t know how you’d react. I was afraid you wouldn’t like me or want to hang out with me anymore.” 

I took a deep breath, and tried to calm myself down, analyzing the whole situation in my head. I wanted so badly to be okay with this. She was my best friend after all, but I didn’t see her as the same person anymore.  She was a gay. She was an outcast, different. Uncomfortable questions began to appear in my head like “breaking news” alerts on television. What had went through her mind when she’d seen me naked in our high school locker room? Did she ever try to flirt with me? Did she hang out with me, because she was secretly in love with me? More “breaking news” alerts appeared. What would happen if people discovered her secret? What would my friends think of me? How could I live my life being friends with a gay? How could she do this to me? A final question appeared.
Why couldn’t she just be…normal? 

I looked up from the asphalt road, and turned to Shaylee, unable to meet her eyes. I dug for words inside of my mind, searching for something, anything, to say. I opened my mouth to speak, expecting to find nothing, but instead finding three simple words, the only words I could muster. “I’m sorry, Shaylee.” 

I walked away, towards my Chevrolet Impala that I had parked at our high school before track practice. Shaylee was left standing there in the street, tears visibly falling from her large, blue eyes. Part of me wanted to console her. The other part of me wanted to just jump into my Impala and drive away. 

I didn’t console her.

As I opened the pearl-white, front door into my home, I heard the sound of my parents talking about the “goddamned liberals” that were “ruining” our society. That happened every time they watched FOX News. On the topic of liberals, my parents had also mentioned how they were sick of seeing more and more “faggots” coming out to the public. Listening to that rant wouldn’t have been something I could’ve bore at the moment, so I started getting ready for bed. 

While lying in bed, I began thinking about the obscene comments my parents had made about gays. To me, they weren’t uncommon comments to hear. Nearly my whole town was conservative, and frankly, almost all of them were anti-gay. I recalled a time at Shaylee’s house when her own parents were talking to Shaylee and I about how they wished the gays at the national gay-pride parades would just be shot in the streets. When I genuinely tried to remember and visualize what that conversation was like, I realized Shaylee hadn’t been as talkative as I was on that subject. In fact, when I truly thought about it, she said little to no words at all.

I then thought about everything that I, myself, had said about gays in front of Shaylee. Countless times I had talked to her about how disgusting gays were for “fucking their own gender”, and how we should just get rid of all of them, because they’re weren’t “normal”. I had told her that all “closeted gays” should stay in the closet, because they shouldn’t be accepted if they came out. I endlessly used derogatory terms to describe gays in front of her; fruit, fag, faggot, queer, fairy, homo, dyke, etc. I had shared every explicit comment about gays with her with complete confidence, because I never imagined her to be anything but straight. 

Feelings of embarrassment and shame rushed through my entire body like water down a raging river. All those years I had been so offensive towards the idea of gays, and I had never truly opened my eyes to that fact until Shaylee told me what she was. It was likely that all of those distasteful statements I had made about gays in front of her played an immense role in haunting her dreams, and scaring her away from coming out. I was finally hit with the realization that Shaylee probably had to work up an extreme amount of courage to tell me she was bisexual, and that I reacted in the worst possible way. Maybe I should’ve been more supportive. However, I didn’t know if I could genuinely be her friend anymore. I’d be turning my back on my beliefs. What would my family say if they knew?  Would I be able to support or handle it? I had to make a tough decision that night. 

The next morning at school, I shuffled into the Art Room, looking for Shaylee. It was time to handle this. 

There she was, drawing in her notebook, pastel colors covering her dainty hands. She glanced up at me, immediately looking away. I swallowed down my anxiety before sitting down next to her. She somberly continued to draw as she waited for me to speak. 

“Shaylee, I’m so sorry about yesterday”, I began. “I acted like a total dick. I know how hard that must’ve been for you to open up about, and I just wanted to let you know I support you no matter what.” She looked up at me, showing a faint smile. I continued. “I really mean it. You’re my best friend, and I don’t plan on changing that.”

Friday, November 10, 2017

Pushing Buttons

by Sage Sherman 

“Hey I have to run to the bank, can my kiddos just hang out with you for a bit?” Asks a lady I barely know. Being a store clerk involves a lot more than stocking shelves, bagging groceries, and pushing buttons on a cash register. I do many odd jobs throughout my shifts at the store, such as babysitting strangers’ children, cleaning up some pretty questionable messes, and unloading a very poorly loaded truck. Most people are shocked at all the extraordinary tasks involved in the store, but to me, it’s just another day.

I think that one of the strangest roles I have at the grocery store is babysitting strangers’ children. Just last month I had a Hispanic lady come in with a small baby. “Aww, he’s so cute!” I complimented, and she grinned widely at me and shoved the small child into my arms. Suddenly I had a child I didn’t know anything about under my care as the mother went grocery shopping. Naturally, the baby started crying and screaming its head off, and I had a line of people waiting to be checked out. I tried to get the mother’s attention, but as luck would have it, she didn’t speak much English.

That wasn’t the first babysitting incident I’d experienced at the store either. When I first started working there, I had a mother send her six year old son into the store every day after school and he would follow whoever was working around the store and tell them stories about him fighting monsters away on a motorcycle. His mother would come in right before closing and make jokes about us being a free daycare. It got to the point that the manager had to have a talk with her, and threatened to start charging her for every hour she left her son unattended at the store.

Babysitting is definitely odd, but it is nothing compared to some of the messes I have had to clean up at that store. A couple summers ago I was going about my daily routine, stocking shelves, running the cash register, doing all the typical store tasks, when I had a young family come in and ask where the restroom was. I pointed them in the right direction, and went back to stocking the canned goods. Soon I heard kids screaming and laughing, then zooming out the door. The father purchased a can of Dr. Pepper before leaving, and right before he walked out the door he said “I apologize for the mess they made in your bathroom."

I smiled at him and assured him it couldn’t be that bad. I was so wrong.  Walking to the public restroom I huffed in horror at the sight of pee all over the floor and toilet seat, rolls of toilet paper soaked in it, along with the bottle of soap and the trashcan. I quickly called in back up to run the register while I dealt with the mess. I gagged at least four times while mopping, sanitizing, and hauling out trash. It took me a good two hours to completely clean up that disaster, and all the while I couldn’t help but think “Minimum wage is sooo not enough money for me to have to put up with this shit.”

Another cleaning disaster that gave me that thought happened just last summer. I had completed all of my duties for that day, and I had seen a total of 5 customers in 4 hours, so I decided to start my newest book. Naturally, the second I turned to the first page I heard the door chimes alerting me to the presence of a customer. I smiled politely at Kasey, a friend of my brother’s, as I made my way to the cash register. All Kasey had purchased was a 12 pack of Mountain Dew and a can of Wintergreen Copenhagen, so it didn’t take long for him to be on his way. 

The second he jerked the 12 pack of pop off the counter though, I knew I was in for a world of stickiness. The cardboard tore, and Mountain Dew went flying. “Oh shit.” Muttered Kasey as 7 of the 12 cans broke open and their sticky green content sprayed over us.
“You’ve got to be kidding me.” I sighed.

“Sorry. Hey, can I grab another 12 pack though? I’d stay to help clean up but I’m supposed to meet Dakota in 5 minutes.” Kasey said as he slowly backed towards the door. I rolled my eyes at him and went to grab the mop. 

Another odd job that I do at the store is one that would be considered rather normal if not for how it was loaded. Unloading freight is something that all stores have to do. The store I work at though, makes it rather difficult. Freight refers to all the shipments of items we bring to the store to sell, so it can be anything from bath bombs and toothpaste, to eggs and pancake batter. Our freight comes on numerous different pallets that we unload with a forklift. Whoever loads those pallets must have zero thoughts or cares for who unloads it. Most of them are loaded upside down, and by that I mean the heaviest things, such as meat and milk, are on top of the six foot tall pallet and the lighter items, such as fruit and even occasionally eggs, are on the bottom or in the middle. This never made much sense to any of us, especially because we are forced to send many items back because they are broken or crushed. 

The tallest member of our staff is a whopping 5’5, the shortest is 5’1. Having to unload a dangerously put together pallet at 4:00 in the morning is never fun. A couple weeks ago our ladder broke the morning our truck came in and I, being the youngest member of the staff, had to climb up the stack and attempt to hand the manager, who has a bad arm from doing this very job, and a fellow employee of 60 plus years 3, 60 pound boxes of meat from the top of the stack. It ended with all three of us sporting some pretty incredible bruises, and severely sore arms. 

Another questionable job that comes with unloading freight is sorting through it. I spend an average of 9 hours a week sorting through apples, oranges, lettuce, peaches, bananas, and numerous other types of fruits and vegetables to make sure none of them are moldy, bruised, or bad in any way. When I’m finished there, I move on to the bread and eggs. If anything is smashed, cracked, rotten, or impaired in any other way I have to remove it from the bunch, lay it in a “Return box”, write down exactly what it is, and then take the box to my manager. I’ve never questioned what happens to it from there. 

One time I was sorting through the eggs, and I noticed too late that the bottom of the box was mushy. I set it on my lap, jumped at the wet, gross feeling, and the entire box fell. We had to send back 12 cartons of eggs that week. 

While working at the store can be a long, tedious experience a lot of the time, there are always odd tasks to be done to make the day interesting. Babysitting sweet, and sassy, children who I don’t know, cleaning up messes that make me feel the utmost sympathy for janitors everywhere, and unloading poorly loaded trucks are just three of the strange tasks that make me love and despise every second I work. Many of my friends have asked me how I handle doing so many weird things, but to me, it’s just another day in the life of a store clerk.