Call Me Exegesis
I’m a simple guy. I drive a simple car and lead a rather simple life. I’ve never traveled internationally, and don’t even have a passport. I often feel like I was born 150 years too late, seeing that I’m not a fan of modern society and am usually baffled by technology. The fact that I can even maintain a blog is a mystery to myself and those closest to me; yet, I’m grateful for the blessing to live now during this time.
I state these few random facts simply because it has been brought to my attention that above the header to my blog it says, “The life and views of a Latter-day Saint in the 21st Century…”. However, I often keep my life entirely off my blog. A friend of mine said a couple of days ago, “Why don’t you share some pictures of your family, or tell one of those great stories about your parents.” I laughed. It hadn’t even occurred to me that I had been completely skimming over the “My Life” part of this blog. I am a rather private person by nature. Although a loudmouth in public (one of my many faults), when it comes to my personal business I’m usually mute.
Having been a statewide sales trainer for one of the nation’s largest insurance companies, and having served in a variety of sales management positions, I have always enjoyed that in so many training meetings, no matter what company I have been working with, we have always started our meetings in the exact same way. At the beginning of a day of training there are usually anywhere from 10 to 30 people gathered in a large conference room. Once the meetings have begun there is usually “The Introductions” as I like to call them. When I’ve been in charge of such trainings in the past I usually had the group stand up one by one and introduce themselves. “Tell your name, where you’re from, your biggest fear, and one thing most people don’t know about you.” – As a trainer there’s multiple reasons I did this. A.) It broke the ice. It helped people to feel open and like they actually knew each other. B.) It allowed me see, as the trainer, who could follow instructions during the training. C.) It showed me who was actually listening to the specific instructions (some people would often elaborate into long life stories which I hadn’t asked for). D.) It helped me see who was most timid. These are the people I would focus on most during the training to help “come out of their shells”. After all, what are you doing in sales if you’re a Timid Tommy or Tessie? And the list goes on as of why such an opening exercise is beneficial for all. – It was only after The Introductions were entirely complete by everyone in the room (including myself and any other management in the room) that I would start. It leveled us all on an equal playing field as just regular people who now knew one another’s biggest fears and random facts.
I tell this story because I became rather good at coming up with random facts about myself during my time as a sales trainer. When you see the same group of people in multiple trainings they no longer let the same ol’ random facts fly. “Sure Stan,” they would say. “We know all about your book collection. Tell us something new.” I was continually trying to find the random tidbits about myself that were both engaging and somewhat funny for others to enjoy. So in the spirit of openness, and to rectify my many omissions about “My Life” on this blog, I share with you a few facts which entirely serve the self-aggrandizement of my fledgling ego.
Random Stan Facts:
- I have two uvulas. You know, the dangling ball in the back of your throat? Well I have two of them. Or, to be more specific, I have a single bifurcated uvula. And both are slightly over-sized. It’s not really a big deal, but every time I go to a doctor and they stick the tongue depressor in my mouth they get really excited. “Did you know you have a bifurcated uvula!” they’ll shout excitedly and hopping up and down, giving me slivers via popsickle stick on my tongue. “WREGREAAAALLLY? YA DON’T SAY!?” I’ll say back as my tongue starts to bleed. – Unless you’re a healthcare professional, you’ll probably never see them though. There’s something unnerving about having groups of people gather around your mouth to stare.
- I have a dog named Brigham. Joseph died years ago. No, I don’t intend on calling my next dog John. However, I did once have a flying squirrel whom I affectionately named Heber. I loved Heber.
- I own 179 neckties, and I can tell you the story of how each one was acquired. I suppose some might say I have a necktie fetish; those people should be whipped with a necktie.
- I grew up as a Lutheran boy in Utah. To say I felt out of place would be the understatement of the century. However, I converted to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints just in time to move to Alabama and be the only Latter-day Saint in my school here.
- My parents met online. Not my biological father of course (he would have been working with Al Gore to create the internet way back when for that to happen). But my mom and my stepfather (whom I refer to as my father). I’m still proud to be a “Way” though, named after my amazing grandfather, Stanley Way, of Muskegon, Michigan.
- As stated above, I have a rather large book collection. I dream of one day having a library like the one in Beauty and the Beast. – I also want a pony and to be astronaut at some point too; so I have to keep these dreams in check occasionally. – My favorite two books I own are an 1830 edition of Foxe’s Book of Martyrs, and an 1898 edition of Wilford Woodruff: History of His Life and Labors, written by Matthias Cowley.
- I love facing my fears. Therefore, I have a bucket list that includes skydiving, alligator hunting, and getting married. No particular order to that list.
- Speaking of marriage, I have been divorced. I’ve discussed this slightly before here, but frankly forget sometimes that I was actually married. The Atonement has a way of healing all things.
- I love Forrest Gump. I believe that the movie has countless lessons for us to learn if we just study it carefully enough. It’s sort of like the scriptures in a way, only with a more rock n’ roll soundtrack.
- Speaking of Forrest Gump, I am a die hard fan of The University of Alabama. I bleed crimson, and believe that the phrase “Roll Tide” can serve as both a greeting, a farewell, and a booster to any conversation.
- Did I mention I love Forrest Gump?
- I read an average of 5 books a week. Not a big fiction fan though. Mostly history and biographies.
- I’m a health nut with an eating problem. I love exercising daily, but I also love pasta, Pepsi, and pepperoni pizza. I call it the Triple P Diet. It’s really tasty.
- I’m in the process of transitioning from “writer” to “author”. If you have a friend in the publishing industry you should help me out here. Seriously. I’ll give you a recipe from the Triple P Diet if you hook me up.
- I once memorized Pi to the hundredth decimal point. It was to pass a trigonometry class with a better grade. Luckily, my brain memorizes things fantastically. Sadly, it is terrible at math.
- I sleep eat. It’s like sleep walking, only there’s usually a trail of crumbs that implicate me in my crimes against the refrigerator.
- I’ve had a variety of nicknames. In my last apartment complex everyone called me “Smiley”, supposedly because I was always smiling and whistling in my comings and goings. “Stan the Man” has also been a popular one, but I’m not the biggest fan. If you call me “Stanley Steamer” you may literally see steam come from my ears. There’s just something about it I really don’t like. One of my closest LDS friends calls me “Exegesis” because I’m always reading some early Christian translation of something. When Elder Christofferson used the word in his Conference talk a few weeks ago I just laughed, then immediately got the text message saying, “Did you hear that?!?” I always go by “Stan” though. The only people who can call me “Stanley” are my mother, and a few very persistent people who I am closest to. But when I pick up my phone I’ll often answer it by saying, “Hello, this is Captain Awesome!” – I just like to hear people laugh.
That should do for a while as stuff from “My Life” on my blog. Maybe I’ll start a series called “All About Me Mondays”, but I highly doubt it. This blog is more of a way to communicate the “My Views” part of the header of this blog. The Gospel is everything to me. So it feels only natural to speak about it here the most. It is my guide each day when I wake up, and it is what I am thinking about when I go to sleep at night. The fact that Heavenly Father has been both gracious and forgiving enough to allow me to be numbered among the members of the Church is something I am grateful for beyond words.
So, my faithful blog readers, I hope you feel like you know me a tad better now. Maybe one day I’ll share about how my good friend Stephen once set me on fire wrapped in a blanket soaked in gasoline and oil…But then again, that’s not really part of the life or views of a Latter-day Saints in the 21st Century, but it does make for a good laugh…Until then though, I hope you’ll keep reading and sharing my posts with others. After all, that’s what they’re here for.
If you’re not a Mormon, and you’re wondering how you can become one and have 179 neckties yourself, click here and learn more about my faith.
(WARNING: Neckties are not given away to new members of the Church. It was merely a joke. We give you an assignment in the nursery instead.)