It's cold here in Grand Rapids. Not too cold, just cold enough to make me wish for a little more body hair. Maybe if I stay here long enough my face will finally sprout something worth not shaving off, and I could finally reach this "manhood" I keep hearing so much about.
I have an aversion to trendiness, so the minute something is deemed "cool" by the masses, I'm instantly adamantly opposed to it. It's another one of those flaws of character that just seem to keep showing up. Maybe that's what Michigan does to you - exposes your flaws like some sort of fairtytale looking glass. In fact, I'm seriously considering supporting an initiative that would officially change Michigan's slogan from "The Great Lakes State" to "The Fairytale Looking Glass State". It just sounds nice, you know?
At any rate, beards have become what goatees where when WCW wrestling was huge, and frankly I want one. Of course, I also don't want one because they're trendy. But in the hierarchy of my own wacked nature, I still really want one, mostly because I can't have one.
Beards do a lot for songwriters. Seriously, take a few moments to think about your favorite songwriters, and think about how many of them have beards. Or even better - think about the judgment you make when you see someone a little on the grizzly side stroll to the microphone. If you're like me, you immediately concede that clearly this person knows about life. I mean, you can't be rugged and not know about life, right? When people see me hit the stage, the looks on their faces suggest they're expecting all songs about comic books for some reason. And frankly, that has to stop.
But longing for facial hair aside, my second day in Grand Rapids has been blast. Fireproof Ministries, Rebuilt Record's parent ministry, is essentially a big umbrella under which a handful of ministries operate.It's been cool to sit down at a table with four other guys who, while very much different, are very much like me. We all could be doing something else with our lives, something that makes for a more stable future, but we all have chosen instead to do something a little ridiculous not knowing if it will turn out well or not. It's a pretty rag-tag group of folks. There's me with Rebuilt, Jamie with To Write Love On Her Arms (a movement seeking to love those who do not love themselves), Clint with Difted (our in-house media firm), our lovable leader Craig of xxxChurch.com (the #1 Christian porn site... don't worry, it's really a ministry to help those with porn addictions and to demonstrate love to those who are involved in its creation), and Dave the Horn Guy who wears an orange jumpsuit with 25 horns strapped to it. (Quick side note: Dave was recently on the reality show America's Most Talented, which was hosted by Regis and featured none other than David Hasselhoff, thus making me essentially two steps from the 'Hoff himself.)
Jamie started TWLOHA to help share the story of a girl named Rene who cut her arms in an attempt to deal with the pain she felt. It's exploded online, and you can probably throw a rock and hit someone wearing one of the t-shirts. He's been speaking all over the place, and they just finished up a tour called Stop the Bleeding. Clint designed my website and used to play in a band called Subseven. El Clinto just bought a house up here in Grand Rapids and will be moving here from Oklahoma in March. What I love about Clint's story is that they bought a house without ever seeing it. Craig checked it out, and they had pictures, but they mostly just bought a house on the faith that they were supposed to do it. When Jana and I moved back to GA from CA, we did a similar thing in buying a house from a friend's dad, having been to it really only once a year or so before. Opportunities just open up, and you just try to take them.
And then there's Craig, who for a short time in 2001 got me banned from flying on America West airlines. I'll spare the story, but we'll just say that he has an outstanding bet with our friend Jake that he'll cough up $100 if he ever flies them again. Craig and the rest of the x3Church gang have made a habit out of pissing people off, though it's weird to say the folks that have gotten the most upset are Christians and not the people at porn shows who are walking by their booth and the stacks of free Bibles. Then again, Craig does drive a car with "The #1 Christian Porn Site" wrapped on the side of it, so I can understand why that might put some folks off from time to time. But I love the heart of it, and I do get a little guilty pleasure out of making people uncomfortable (yet another flaw of character), so that helps.
We've never all sat down together, our little Fireproof family, and it's been a much needed time of refreshment for my spirit. Of course, after we ate dinner tonight we all went and saw Blood Diamondsand felt like crap after we left the theater. If you're in that holiday mood and you'd like to stay that way, you might want to skip that one. That's just my opinion, though.
And while today was fun, I still can't help but notice that out of all of us, I'm the only one not capable of growing even a junior high-grade mustache. But I have become the fella's go-to guy on all comic-book related queries, and I've got to chalk that one up as progress.