Friday, December 10, 2010

Talent



Most people have some sort of talent, be it strange or beautiful. Some people are eloquent speakers. Some are flawless writers. Some can play the violin so well that you don’t know whether to cry, hate them, or cry and hate them. I’ve seen unicyclists, whistlers, weight lifters, and Angry Birds prodigies. The one common thread between all of these talentees is that the talented individual must recognize at some point that he or she is better at something than the average human.

As an extremely average human, I have often been the inspiration for just such an awakening. It is through these taxing experiences that I have come to discover my own talent. I am Scott Gale. I am the bringer of talent recognition. Do you enjoy a particular activity but are not sure you can legitimately call it a talent? Invite me over to participate! You’ll have a talent in no time. Play “HORSE” with me and you’ll find you are a talented “hoops shooter.” Ask me to sing you a song and you’ll soon be standing in line for American Idol auditions. Ask me to draw you a picture and you’ll instantly be putting your own timeless art pieces up for sale on ebay.

As I go through life failing for those around me, I have begun to see how this talent has come full circle to assist even me. When I try to lose weight, I am grateful for my laziness that is so strong I cannot even get in the car and drive to Wendy’s. When my roommates are loud after midnight, I am happy for the mild narcolepsy that puts me to sleep during class. When an unexpected visitor arrives at my house, I am prepared with the 5 cartons of ice cream stocked in my freezer, due to what some would call a lack of self-discipline. Everyone is talented, and I’m here to prove it.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Cooking With the Animals

Cooking is a release. Some run. Some break things. I cook. I feel free to create and destroy at will. To invent, re-invent, un-invent, replicate, duplicate, or simply recreate. I am at home in my kitchen. I have had the fortune of acquiring a second home. I am taking SFL 110 (Food Preparation) as part of my sprint to graduation. There is a three hour lab associated with this class where my friend and I share Kitchen #6 as we work our culinary magic. Recently, there has been an intruder in our home.

There are 3 people assigned to Kitchen 6: Caitlin, myself, and the Sloth. The Sloth’s favorite pastimes include, but are not limited to: sitting in a chair in the middle of our kitchen, sharing our chocolate milk, eating our artistic masterpieces, and moving at the speed of an angry starfish. Today, I watched in awe as our dormant friend sat in a chair in front of the open oven with two hot pads in hand attempting to remove a casserole dish. His hands slowly neared each side of the hot dish, then, within inches of contact, they retreated to analyze the feeble attempt and approach from a different angle. I stared in disbelief as the steam pouring from my beautiful creation slowly disappeared. Five minutes. Ten minutes. Just as I was about to reach in with my bare hands to rescue my now frigid lunch, he made his final approach. His mitted hands cupped the dish inside the oven like the Asian lady at Wu’s Open Kitchen used to cup my face. An eternal grip accompanied by endless comments pertaining to my “cute, chubby” features. As my last tooth fell from my wrinkled face and I was nearing liver and renal failure, the Sloth began to move. He withdrew the food at such a glacial pace that I was certain I would never eat again. The sleeping giant placed a completely room temperature dish on a completely unnecessary cooling rack and began his journey to close the oven door.

The 5 hours that have passed since that class have felt as the blink of an eye in comparison to the twenty minutes spent watching a large snail undo what we had worked so hard to complete. There is a reason that animals do not cook there food. Were it not for the Sloth’s ability to purchase his meals, he would die of starvation before his attempt at cooking ever made it to his face. Were it not for 7 days of recuperation in between each cooking class, I would call the exterminator to remove the animal from my kitchen.


Friday, September 24, 2010

Super Senior

I have gone unnoticed for the last four years. I have grown comfortable as a statistic in the computer system and another nameless entity that picks Taco Bell over Choose 2 Give. Not anymore. I have been red flagged. BYU has finally realized that I have been here for too long. I have received e-mails about graduation and job fairs. I am bombarded with options for my future as if my future does not include another 4 years to complete my undergraduate work. I was recently notified that I almost have too many credits to qualify for financial aid.

In a desperate attempt to prove my importance to this university, I padded my schedule with a few classes that have been described as “Easy A.” An “A” in Beginning Guitar will surely show the current administration that I am a valuable asset to this institution. A passing grade in Beginning Tennis must mean something to somebody important. I am developing life skills. Sure, these are skills for the life of a senior citizen, but they cannot expect me to leave before completing a course in Golf or Floral Design. If my being here is preventing some poor high school senior from coming to the school of his choice, then why entice me to stay with classes like Food Preparation in the Home? As long as there is an “A” to be freely given, I will allow the Obama administration to pay my tuition so that I can receive it. With a Pell Grant in my pocket, I am proud to be that guest that refuses to leave the party until everyone else has gone home. I am proud to continue to hover over the wedding reception buffet even as tables and decorations are being removed. I am proud to walk into Café Rio 3 minutes before closing and slowly munch on my pork salad. I am proud to be a super senior
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Monday, August 9, 2010

Summer Rain

Due to some recent changes at work, I find myself starting the day at 6:30am. At this time of the morning, few people are awake enough to brave a visit to the physical therapist. These few people fight for their undesirable morning appointments and let the rest of mankind sleep. On a particular morning, this last week, I groggily shuffled into the clinic to see it abandoned and dark. Bringing life to the clinic, I went about my morning duties anxiously awaiting the arrival of the day's first patient. Due to some strategically placed illnesses and cancellations, fate had left me with a seemingly easy morning until after 7:30am when the first zombies would sleep walk in for some morning therapy.

While my boss worked busily in his office, I stood behind my desk silently surveying the carnage from the epic battle between sleep and consciousness that was being fought inside of me. Suddenly, I was violently ripped from the gripping war by a sound so unwelcome, yet oddly soothing. Rain. I love summer rain. I have always been intrigued by the warm thunderstorms of late summer. But this rain was different. My mind was quickly filled with panic as I felt the warm sun taunting me through the window. How could I be hearing rain without a cloud in the sky? I raced around the corner as fast as my stocky legs could carry me only to hit a brick wall of horror. What stood before me left me frozen with fear. I tried to scream but no sound would escape my lips. I stood face to face with a tropical monsoon cascading from the water birth center upstairs through the ceiling tiles of treatment room #3.

Heart racing, I instinctively grabbed towels and garbage cans in a feeble attempt to control the flood. With every drop or splatter of water that touched my skin, I could literally see the bacteria eating away at my flesh. I was blasted with a fine mist of afterbirth and std's and I will never be the same.

As I sat recovering in the office, I was ignorantly informed that the tidal wave of precipitation had been caused by a pregnant mother who unknowingly plugged the drain to her shower as the water spilled onto the floor. I am no idiot. This "leak," as they call it, was a direct and intentional attack against myself. To the people upstairs: The next time your water breaks, I'll be ready.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Organic Overboard

I recently started a job as an aide in a physical therapy clinic. Our clinic is on the first floor of an extremely average two story office building. So average, that I did not even bother to notice who shared this building with us. Why would I need to know? I just figured there was probably a dentist office or a small scale drug operation upstairs. What I would come to find out is intriguing, concerning, and disgusting.

It wasn't until I had been working at this clinic for a week that I learned the true identity of our upstairs neighbors. Though it was right on the sign by the front door, I had never bothered to look. As I heard a comment in passing about the residents upstairs, I ran to the front of the building to confirm such a vicious rumor: Ste. 220 - Andaluz Waterbirth center. As my brain slowly processed those 3 words, a single horrifying image would not be suppressed any longer. All I could think of were the yellowing water damaged tiles that littered the ceiling of our clean physical therapy clinic. I remember thinking to myself, "Self, I wonder what caused that water damage if we are on the first floor of a two floor building." I'll tell you what it was from . It was from particularly violent births that caused the hot tubs that are directly over my head to splash enough water and afterbirth on the floor to leak into our clinic. Forget about biohazards, that's straight up nasty.

All this week, there has been the steady sound of children running above me. Constantly they run, back and forth. I started to wonder what was going on up there. Why are so many little kids running around, sounding like they are going to break through the ceiling? There is only one explanation, the babies. Growing up in Oregon, I am no stranger to all things organic. Giving birth in a large tub with a midwife to help surface the little sea monster is about as organic as you can get. After hearing all these kids running around, I am starting to think these organic water babies are being born with the ability to run. I am now convinced that giving birth underwater is so natural that these babies are being born with, dare I say, super human capabilities. I swear to you now that a baby born underwater can breathe underwater as well as above. Michael Phelps: underwater birth. Ariel the mermaid: underwater birth. Sarah Palin: underwater birth. The evidence is clear.

I don't think I'm quite ready to stand under a leaking ceiling tile and awaken my inner superhero, but as soon as I see narwhal flopping down the stairs, I'll be first in line. Until then, I'll continue to throw up in my mouth every time I think about exactly what has been leaking into my clinic.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Tradition

I have always had a distorted view of tradition. When I was young, I decided that everything I liked was a tradition in hopes that it would regularly happen for the rest of my life. When my family spontaneously went to Seven Peaks water park on one of our bi-yearly trips to Utah, I conveniently decided it was a tradition. Boy was I disappointed on our next trip when I was the only one that packed my swimming trunks and the only one that shed tears in mourning over our lost tradition.

I have come to realize that I fit right in here in Portland. Someone planted a huge rose garden and named Portland the rose city. Somebody else decided that every city needs a festival. As luck would have it, our extremely large and proud neighbors to the south also decided they couldn’t live without a rose festival. In a pathetic cry for attention, Portland made it a tradition to have not one, but two parades to celebrate its rose festival. My guess is that somebody tried it once and some naïve little kid with a suitcase full of swimming trunks and expectations decided to keep it going.

Last Saturday was Portland’s Starlight Parade: the perfect example of a tradition that never should have been. For some reason, I went with low expectations and for some reason, things started working out. Little by little, I let my guard down. By the time we miraculously found a front row spot to spread our blankets, I was once again that 8 year old boy in bright red swimming trunks grateful for frivolous traditions that were never meant to be. Following are the highlights of this experience.

With my new found optimism, I was not going to let the white trash family sitting next to me rain on my parade. As they slowly crept farther onto my blanket, I tried to pretend they weren’t there. I let them have the benefit of the doubt. Maybe they didn’t notice their dirty children jumping over me to get to the street. Maybe they thought of me as part of the family. Then I turned around to see what I was slowly kicking back onto their blanket. Imagine my face expression when I see a small cage with little claws reaching for freedom. Who brings their ferrets to a parade? As the manly woman took her precious out of its cage and started kissing it I literally saw my dad standing over me saying “Son, just because we did it once doesn’t make it a tradition.” I instantly wished I had learned from the past. I wished I was miles away from the personal space invading family with their urine soaked ferrets.

A staple of low budget parades is the high school marching band. Following each marching band is a small group of devoted parents pulling wagons of water. I posted a video of what I thought was an over excited father who had too much to drink. After he danced alongside four different marching bands, I realized he was a simple spectator that had finally found his place in life: dancing down the street waving a glowing baton.

video

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Embarrassing flashbacks

Still unemployed, I decided to go spend my non-existent income at the mall. While riding the escalator, I was suddenly thrown back to one of my most embarrassing high school moments. Hold on to your butts, this is going to get scary…

As soon to be “juniors,” there was only one place for Ben and me to go on a hot summer afternoon: the mall. 16 and licensed, Ben navigated his four wheeled symbol of freedom into the overcrowded parking lot only to find the last open spot roughly 3.2 miles from the entrance. The mall was as crowded as a Sunday morning buffet next to a retirement home. Why we were there escapes my memory. When I think back to that day, the sweet smell of thousands of sweaty mall-goers retreating from the early July heat quickly returns to my mind. Dodging in and out of the endless display of tube tops and spaghetti straps, we stopped for a quick sample from Sees and made our way to paradise: the food court. The only thing that rested on the minds of the turbulent sea of high school adolescents and their insignificant middle school counter parts was the quest to find somebody that would validate their existence. Their probing gaze searched the crowd for that someone that was not up to their standards. When found, the awkward pile of hormones and second hand clothes would become the topic of conversation until someone else was spotted that was more worthy of their attention. Oblivious to the danger that lurked ahead, I made my way to the towering escalator that would shortly deliver me to my acceptance, or my doom, along with freedom from the oppressing hunger that has since become an old friend. As the escalator moaned under the weight of its passengers, we slowly reached our destination. One by one the metal stairs in front of me disappeared to return and retrieve another load. As I made my way off of the escalator, the action of the stair being sucked under the metal guard slowly pulled the front of my sandal in with it. Trying to avoid the impending social assassination, I used all my strength to rip my sandal away from the metal that was so forcefully trying to ruin my life. Suddenly, my sandal was freed from its satanic captor but not without a large chunk of foam becoming lodged in the escalator. No sooner than I had been released, the escalator came to an abrupt halt throwing everyone forward. As they regained their balance, a small army of people all turned their attention to what had caused such a tragic accident. There I was, a short, chubby, insecure boy trapped between those that wanted to kill me for making them walk up an escalator, and those that would feed off my embarrassment like Stephanie Meyers off fresh blood. I did the only thing a boy in my situation could do; I stared at the floor and moved my stocky little legs to Panda Express where I would throw on an extra side of orange chicken to drown my sorrows.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

My name is Scott and I'm a food addict

I find cooking relaxing and eating, an addiction. When I sit in front of the TV, I always go straight for the Food Channel before I see what else is on. My heroes include Ina Garten, Paula Deen, and Tyler Florence. My celebrity crush is on an Italian woman that gets paid to make cannolis in front of a camera. I need to go on a diet.

I have often enjoyed a show called Diners, Drive ins, and Dives hosted by Guy Fieri. He goes from city to city eating at popular and dirty little restaurants. Being so concerned about my health, I compiled a list of the names and addresses of each restaurant featured from Portland and Salt Lake City. Yes, I do intend to try all of them.

The first stop was Moochie's on 800 south in Salt Lake. It was featured for its obscenely large meatball sandwich, but I was advised to stick with the cheese steak. I have been trying to go for a long time, but I just barely got up to Salt Lake a little over a week ago. I don't even know where to start. I could talk about the juicy, paper thin slices of steak. I could mention the perfectly grilled peppers and onions that left their sweet smell on my fingers for days. I could even bring up the layers of cheese that melted down into each crack bringing everything together into one delicious sandwich. These things were great, but what will get me back to Moochie's is the homemade jalapeno sauce.

Oh, what a combination of flavors. The subtle sting of the jalapenos encased in a delicious cream sauce. I could not stop pouring until there was a steady flow leaving the end of my sandwich and I knew it was completely saturated. I was in a dream world until I was abruptly awakened by the lack of sandwich in my hands. What could possibly be in such a sweet nectar? Crack-Cocaine? Caffeine? Some other habit forming substance? Other than the minuscule bits of jalapeno, I'll never know.



March 27 - Hare Krishna



Somewhere in Spanish Fork, perched atop the ugly brown foothills we all associate with Utah Valley, is a large white Krishna temple. I am surprised to see even Baptist churches in such a Mormon setting. A fully functioning Lotus Temple quickly raises suspicion. Each year, the Lotus Temple hosts Holi Fest, or the Festival of Colors. It's hard to miss the thousands of people that post seemingly identical profile pictures on Facebook. This year, I gave into peer pressure.

When I crested the hill concealing the thousands of people dancing to the hypnotic words of a Hare Krishna song, I immediately thought of every scripture story condemning pagan rituals and dove into the crowd. Between the two sons of my stake president and my two gay friends, I figured things were pretty balanced. Weaving through the crowd as people pelted me with sweet smelling colored powders, I remembered something my friend had said about the perfect place for a terrorist attack. These thoughts were quickly drowned out by the ceaseless chanting of "Hare Krishna!" They spoke to us about love and peace all while halfheartedly attempting to get a path cleared for a young man who needed to be rushed to the hospital in an ambulance. I don't know if he ever made it because they soon put on an Indian version of Toddlers in Tiaras. I was still contemplating whether or not those little girls really wanted to be dancing for thousands of colorful sweaty Mormons when they started the countdown. Remember, I was already covered in a thick layer of color when this countdown started. When they got to 1, I witnessed the apocalypse. Everyone let loose with their hidden reserves of colors and we were encased in a cloud so dense that it completely blocked out the sun for almost a minute.

By the time I could breathe, make it out of the crowd, and find my friends I had decided that once was enough. I got home and saw all of Facebook with new profile pictures vowing they would return to Little New Delhi the following year to be blasted with more colors. Since I will still be cleaning pink out of my ears at that time, I'll have a daily Q-tip reminder that is more than enough for me.