Friday, November 30, 2012

Starry Nite

The evening’s activities put me in mind of the event a year earlier. The tone both similar and worlds apart – a celebration of the start of the Christmas season, but this year without the aching heart and scratchy eyes of the day’s grief. As I walked away, the voices, amplified by microphones, echoed off the trees, the strains of the violin soaring above them.

I walked toward my car, alone in the deserted lot at the far end of campus. The tenor, the alto, and the violin together, haunting echoes of the originals, rode the chilly, crisp air: “O night, O Holy night, O night divine!”

And alone, I wept at the beauty of it all, that the Conqueror came in peace1, on a quiet, holy night, to be pierced for our transgressions, crushed for our iniquities; to take upon Himself the chastisement that brought us peace, to turn our sorrow into joy and our mourning into dancing. The power of Death was undone by an Infant born of glory2

1 Jason Gray. "Easier." Christmas Stories: Repeat the Sounding Joy.
2 Andrew Peterson. "Gather 'Round Ye Children, Come." Behold the Lamb of God.

Friday, November 23, 2012

It's the moment you've all been waiting for...

In the 1998-1999 school year at Plymouth-Canton Educational Park, more commonly called "PCEP" or just, "the Park," my days as a high school senior were enlivened with a regular column in the PCEP Perspective student newspaper: "Ahmed's Top 11," written by my friend, Ahmed Baset.

Recently home to visit my parents for Thanksgiving, I came across clippings of my favorite columns, and, with Ahmed's permission, have decided to share them with the world. They are so classically representative of the late-90s high school zeitgeist and the Park's culture that they simply must be shared (plus, they're pretty funny).

So, to begin:

Ahmed's Top 11 Reasons You Should Go Trick-or-Treating

11. You can never get enough Dum-Dums and Smarties
10. It gives you an excuse to dress up as your favorite Spice Girl/Hanson member.
9. You can get a free slurpee at 7-11.
8. It's a chance to restock next year's Halloween candy supply to give out.
7. Two Words: King Size
6. It's the only day of the year you can cross dress and not get beat up for it.
5. The candy gives you something to throw at the people who dressed up as Spice Girls/Hanson members.
4. It'd be cool to bust out your old school Alf Costume.
3. You can try to find a wrong way to eat a Reece's Peanut Butter cup.
2. If you're a Marilyn Manson follower, it's the one night of the year you can get away with dressing like a prep.

And the drum roll please...
1. There's really no feeling like robbing a little kid's bag.

Ahmed's Top 11 Reasons Not to go to Canton's Homecoming

11. Math test on Monday.
10. None of your friends are going so you obviously can't go.
9. "Have to organize the sock drawer."
8. It's not cool to go to homecoming anymore.
7. You're saving your money for the Titanic video.
6. Your favorite blow up doll has a hole in it.
5. Like the guy you like was like such a jerk 'cuz he like liked your best friend who had the guts to like him back and you were like "like Dude no way!" and so like they're going to homecoming and like you're sitting at home painting your nails.
4. You decided it'd be cooler to key everyone's car that's at the dance.
3. Elton John concert is the same freakn' day.
2. No, "moshing, freaking, slam dancing," what's the point?
Drum Roll Please...

1. Big America Online Night. Leonardo DiCaprio will be in a live chat room under keyword "Titanic."

Ahmed's Top 11 things to get your significant other for Valentine's Day

11. Dinner (everybody loves White Castle) and a movie (renting Home Alone 3 counts, right?)
10. Matching Tatoos. Display your love FOREVER.
9. A calendar of yourself for every month of the year.
8. The Ken Starr Report. Makes for good bathroom reading.
7. A chia pet. It really grows and lasts longer than roses.
6. Pez dispenser. Cheap and sexy.
5. Liz Isakson jumping out of a cake in nothing but a shoelace.
4. This guy right here.
3. N'SYNC tickets
2. A pink frisbee (Especially if your significant other happens to be Mikey Haddad)
1. You...lying on their nothing but whipped cream

And, finally, my personal all-time favorite:

Ahmed's Top 11 Reasons You Know You are Cool

11. You still hang out at what is known as "the tree."
10. You got those new pair of 18 dollar Abercrombie boxers.
9. You were on Gershon Leventhal's PolTalk debate on pornography.
8. You wear a colorful Yankee's hat curved toward the WEST SIDE!
7. You drive a Mercury Cougar.
6. You have a need to make out with your significant other between passing time. GET A ROOM!
5. You can clap and jump at the same time. GO TEAM!
4. You have a long neck key chain hanging out of your pocket.
3. You write a column called the top 11 that pisses a lot of people off.
2. You, Homer, Penny and other security guards hang out at Jeff's house on the weekends...
1. You're white and you wear FUBU.