The Diary of an Unhappy Nobody: Day 36

During my grandma’s eulogy I asked everyone in attendance to continue to tell their stories they had of her. I’m going to tell my first one today.

This is so low on the spectrum of memories or importance, but I have time to tell more important ones later.

I don’t know when exactly this took place. My parents currently have two dogs. Maya and Chico. They’re largely the same. Both small. Both go crazy when someone gets home. And both will sleep on anyone in the house.

At some point early last year when I was still at home I walked by my grandma’s room and she was lying down watching TV. She was very small in her later years, right? So she was lying on her side just watching TV. And then I noticed Chico somehow lying on top of her shoulder, asleep. She was awake.

Chico does that with everyone in the house. But I guess I just wasn’t expecting to see him there. I also wasn’t expecting her to just let him stay.

Honestly, it was just nice. I don’t remember what my exact reaction was but I’m sure I smiled. When I went on vacation last year for 8 days Chico cried by my door. So I know he knows she’s not home. But it’s okay. He’s a tough little guy.

The Diary of an Unhappy Nobody: Day 29

I began the year by posting daily about my own personal struggles in recent months. I haven’t posted in recent weeks because all the things I’d been writing about worsened and worsened to the point of me texting someone at 4 in the morning a couple of weeks ago that I was on the verge of complete collapse.

But it was something entirely unexpected that caused this. My grandma fell ill.

I’m going to be completely honest with y’all. As an adult I’ve always maintained the attitude that death shouldn’t sadden us the way it typically does because every one of us will reach that day. My grandma was the closest relative I’ve lost. All of my other grandparents died when I was younger. I have memories of and with them, but I had my grandma twice as long as all the others. And I lived with her for 14 years.

She left us on the 19th. I went home from the hospital and cried all night. I’ve cried every day since. I’ve never cried more at any point during my 26 years.

I delivered the eulogy on the 25th. It was the single greatest honor of my life to tell everyone about my grandma and what I learned from her. Her funeral was the 26th. I’m still not sure I can handle this going forward.

But one thing I learned throughout all of this is that I’ve been mistaken for a really long time. I’m not alone, no matter how I might feel. I’ve had old friends reach out to me. But even more importantly, I’ve come to realize I have my family. It shouldn’t take death to realize this.

I already miss my grandma more than I can possibly put into words here. But I’m so much better off because of the two and a half decades I had with her.

Let my experience possibly be a lesson for you. We’ll all experience the feeling of loneliness I’ve been experiencing, but we aren’t alone. Not really. Not a single one of us.

How Many More Books Will You Read Before You Die?

I’ve actually been wanting to write a post about this since seeing the original article written about a month ago. But I told myself that I’d only write it when I had time to sit down and focus rather than just typing something up on my phone. Today is that day.

Before I get into any of the details here I want to state my reservations about the whole thing. Some might say this is scientific. Others might say the original author quantified the question. But I believe both statements to be false. Information was taken from the Social Security Life Expectancy Calculator and combined with reading data from the Pew Research Center.The author essentially took two averages and plugged those numbers into a graph. There’s nothing wrong with that, but let’s be honest about how accurate the numbers really are before even getting into the numbers.

First, you should know who is falling into which group of reader. Average = 12 books a year. Voracious = 50 books a year. Super = 80 books a year. The author used those numbers to “calculate” how many more books we’ll read based on how much we read and our life expectancy. I’m a 25-year-old male who falls somewhere between being an average and voracious reader. According to the data I’ll read between 684 and 2850 more books during the course of my lifetime. That’s quite the range for something that claims to utilize data. But that’s what it says.

How about you? Two questions here. First, how many books does the data say you’ll read before that funny thing called death? And how many do YOU actually think you’ll read? I’ll say I think I’ll be able to read exactly 3429 more books over the rest of my life. The best part is I keep track of all that information. My tally starts today.

Elie Wiesel has Died

Elie Wiesel died yesterday at the age of 87. I immediately realized there are countless ways to describe this man. Survivor. Activist. Advocate. Nobel Laureate. Author. And the list goes on and on. He impacted the world and affected people like few before him ever have. Today the light shining over humanity is just a little bit dimmer than yesterday because we’ve lost one of our greatest voices.

Elie Wiesel will not be forgotten, not in my lifetime and hopefully not ever.

I said yesterday I wouldn’t share any more videos from the new channel on here, but I didn’t anticipate such a force (and author) dying. So here are my full thoughts on the life and death of Elie Wiesel:

Saturday Selects: Christina Grimmie

Saturday Selects is a series of posts I write on the first Saturday of each month outside the general bookish theme of the blog. This will actually be my second of the month because of current events.

Christina Grimmie was well known on YouTube, and later on NBC’s “The Voice”. She was 22-years-old. Just a few hours before her show in her hometown of Orlando she posted a video on Twitter inviting her fans to attend.

But unfortunately it would be the final performance of her life. A man approached her after the show during a meet and greet and opened fire. She was struck three times before her brother tackled the shooter. The shooter then committed suicide. She was rushed to the hospital in critical condition, but died a few hours later.

Her death will receive attention because she’s a known celebrity, but her story is a common one in today’s America. Young people in cities like Chicago, Detroit, NYC, LA, and more are victims of gun violence every single day in this country. But nothing has been done to combat it in recent months and years on a federal level. I imagine her death will spark another conversation about gun violence, but unfortunately I don’t see any real change coming about on a national level.

This all comes back to what YOU want. Do you want to keep reading stories like this one in the future? Or do you want to enact some change?

The shooter’s identity has not been released publicly, but he was said to have two handguns, lots of ammo, and a knife on him during the shooting.

We can tweet and post and continue talking about gun violence but if we continue to vote the same NRA-backed members of Congress into office, then you can be assured nothing will be done.

This man clearly had no business with a gun in his possession, but I bet it’ll come out in the coming days that both guns were purchased legally. And that’s simply unacceptable. It’s well beyond the time to demand real change, but we always need more people making the demand.

Also, I’d like to note the venue had no metal detectors and security was not armed. This venue can hold 1200 people. I think metal detectors will be installed very soon, and I believe Christina Grimmie’s family will ultimately file suit for not doing enough to protect the young singer.

My only hope is that more people decide that enough is enough and refuse to accept the ongoing gun violence as the new normal.

Rest in peace, Christina.

22-years-old is too young to die, but there is no appropriate age to become a victim of gun violence. ALL victims of gun violence are too young to die.

Saturday Selects: Ali

Saturday Selects is a series of posts I write on the first Saturday of each month to discuss something outside the general bookish theme of the blog. Today’s topic is Muhammad Ali.

He died last night, which I’d been expecting for a few days. Too many vague statements about his health situation. There’s been an outpouring of support in the hours since the news broke. Many people have been praising Ali the boxer while others praise Ali the humanitarian.

But for me it all comes down to one thing. The boxing doesn’t matter and the humanitarian efforts only came after his career was over. I’ve looked up to him for neither. But I’ve looked up to him for speaking out against war and the military draft. He gave millions of people a voice by standing up and sticking to his beliefs. He did something that we now take for granted. Imagine if every person who spoke out against the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan was suddenly unable to find work for more than three years. That would leave us with no presidential candidates left.

Ali has been great on several fronts, but what I appreciate the most is his unrelenting resolve to stand up for what he believed in. We could all take a page from him in that regard.

Rest easy, champ.

Harper Lee has Died

An American icon died today. And even though today is video day and I have a new video for y’all, I felt that I should write one more post about Harper Lee.

I’ve written extensively over the last year about the Pulitzer Prize winning author. Mostly because she popped up in the news for the first time in years and I finally got around to reading To Kill a Mockingbird. But you know what my first thought was when I learned of her death? Some of you will know it. It was that she wouldn’t be taken advantage of anymore.

I’m not upset or critical of her for only writing one book during her lifetime (I still don’t consider Go Set a Watchman anything more than a draft that was never meant to see the light of day). I don’t fault her for not relishing in the media attention she received as a result of her book. And I don’t blame her for her second book coming out.

Harper Lee did in one book what so many people fail to do in a lifetime. She changed lives. Imagine what it would have been like reading her book for the first time in 1960. Depending on your personal ideology and mindset the book would have been eye-opening or repulsive. But when we read it now it gives a glimpse into the ugly history of the southern United States. We all know that not everyone living during the period was racist or experienced racism in their day-to-day lives, which is why her book is so important. It shows the bad in people during the period, but it also shows how good people really were. There were millions of Atticus Finch’s all over the country, but not everyone was fortunate enough to know one.

I won’t thank Harper Lee for writing a masterpiece. Instead I’ll thank her for doing her part to ensure that a terrible time period in the history of this country is never forgotten. So thank you, Ms. Lee. May you rest in peace.

I’ll leave you with my To Kill a Mockingbird video from last year.

A Simple Message

On this day some 71 years ago, many men pressed forward toward the coasts of France knowing that it would be their last. These men did not cower in the face of nearly impossible odds. They did what needed doing, and looked death straight in the eye. Some were taken and others were spared. But every man, living and not, changed the course of the war by storming those beaches. Every man, living and not, changed the course of human history. Every man, living and not, deserves our respect and admiration. Every man, living and not, did something that 99.99 percent of us simply could not do. We are indebted to every man who took part in the events of D-Day on June 6, 1944. Let’s not forget it.


On this day in 2014 I wrote more extensively about the events of D-Day in my post Something More Important Than Books.

My Saturday Selects post will publish tomorrow.

 

Terry Pratchett has Died

I have to be honest. I don’t know anything about him. I couldn’t tell you a single book he wrote. I couldn’t even tell you the name of any series he wrote. Now I bet you’re wondering why I’d write about him if I know nothing about him. Well, because every time I opened WordPress yesterday I came across posts written about him. I’m talking dozens. And it would appear to me that he made a lasting impact on a great many people.

I’m not going to talk about his death. I’m not going to talk about some of his best books that have been mentioned countless times over the last 24 hours. I want you to do that. I want you to tell me about this man who is so beloved by so many. Tell me anything you want. Maybe you have a favorite book of his? Maybe you have a story about how one of his books helped you during a difficult time? Maybe you were lucky enough to meet him some time ago? Anything. I just want to know about the person who has now left the literary world at a loss.


On this day in 2014 published You’re Currently Reading Something…Tell me About it!.

 

The Release Date of Stuart Scott’s Memoir Moved up

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First off, do you know who Stuart Scott was? No? Well he was arguably the most popular anchor on ESPN’s flagship program SportsCenter. He’d been with the network for the past two decades and put a new face to covering sports. He’d also been fighting cancer for the last seven years.

He died January 3 at the young age of 49. I’ll admit that I cried when I found out, which was via text from ESPN early that morning. It wasn’t because I think death or dying is particularly sad, I don’t, but his death showed the impact he’d had on millions of people. There were moments of silence at NFL, NBA, and even college basketball games after his death. Other networks spoke incredibly highly of a man they only knew from afar. And athletes shared their personal stories. His memoir Every Day I Fight was originally slated for a May release. But now that he’s died it’s been moved up to March.

I have an issue with this. I understand that publishing is a business. Anyone who says otherwise hasn’t got a clue, but this was already a surefire bestseller. Stuart Scott was open about his battle long before he wrote this book. And he was watched by millions on ESPN. So I don’t understand why Blue Rider Press (an imprint of Penguin Random House) has decided to change the release date. Quite frankly, I find it disrespectful to Stuart Scott and all of his surviving family. I have no idea how future royalties will be paid out, but it doesn’t matter. I’m sure his family would rather have him back instead of money from a book he wrote.

And I bet some of you will think that at least he’s getting to tell his story, uh no. He was already going to tell his story, but it just so happened that he died a few months before the book’s release. You and I both know that the book would have moved forward with the May release date if he were still alive today. But he’s not and it gets moved up.

Anyway, you can access the book’s Amazon page here. And if you’ve read all of this without having any idea who I’m talking about, well watch this. It’s a speech from last year’s ESPY Awards that he gave after being given the Jim Valvano Award for Perseverance.