My parents (like all parents) have some oddities. For example, my dad thinks the Harry Potter books drive its readers to witchcraft. My mom is terrified of gargoyles (this came as a result of a bad dream after watching an episode of the Saturday morning cartoon, Gargoyles). And, because it is a pagan ritual, they didn’t allow their kids to go trick-or-treating. In fact, it took years of negotiating before I was even allowed to wear a scary costume to school for the Halloween party. (The common solution from my dad about wearing a costume was to go as a monster dressed up as a kid). But after some pleading and pestering I finally got my wish. I was going to dress scary.
As a kid, the school Halloween party was what I lived for. It was when I could amass large amounts of candy to hoard in my Lego box for the long winter. Moreover, the day’s itinerary was ideal. Everyone dressed up, ate candy, and went home early—without even skipping recess. Even better was the fact that the teachers would put on crazy costumes! I remember Mrs. Berry would dress up as a strawberry, Mrs. Carpenter would dress up as a carpenter, and Mrs. Fox would dress up as some strange looking animal I could never figure out. Regardless, I was finally allowed to join them and dress scary. All I needed was a costume.
As well as being a bit quirky my parents (like all parents) are sometimes strangely thrifty. For example, as I recall my dad only took me to the dentist once. My mom bought futon beds that doubled as couches. And, because it wasn’t necessary for survival, they agreed that it would be stupid to spend money on an actual costume. Consequently, my options were limited to what could be found in the house. (My dad’s idea for a costume involved my two older sisters and their makeup—he was not actually trying to help). However, I wasn’t left completely without options. Thanks to my older brother, our rural Idaho home had an abundance of paraphernalia from the Army Navy Store. Thus, after some careful consideration of what would be scariest I had my outfit—a pair of faded black camouflage paints with a black shirt and a black ski mask. (As a kid, I thought black was the color of scary things). But the pinnacle of my costume was my prop—a dark misshapen toy that looked like an ax. With this outfit I knew I was ready—I just didn’t know what I was.
The next day at school everyone came to school dressed up. Some kids’ outfits were predictable (i.e. ninja, princess, ghost, etc.). Other kids came in style sporting demon masks, fake blood, or popular superhero costumes. (One kid, Mark, had a red Power Rangers costume—Mark was always trendy). And then there was me, a kid dressed in all black with a toy ax. Know one knew what I was, not even me. I was having a Halloween identity crisis.
The day’s festivities went on but I felt out of place. How could I be scary if I didn’t even exist? The question troubled my third-grader heart. Not even the outstanding amounts of high-fructose corn syrup could cheer me up. Then came the main event, the parade of costumes—the moment for everyone to admire your scariness and covet your costume. I looked for a place in the line and after retreating from the questions about who I was found myself next to Mrs. Fox. (I didn’t feel bad standing next to Mrs. Fox since no one knew what she was dressed as).
“What’s wrong, Matt,” she asked.
“I’m not scary.”
“Sure you are. You’re an executioner. That’s very scary.”
“An executioner. You know—the guy who chops off heads.”
I will never forget those beautiful words that came from an oddly dressed elementary school teacher. “The guy who chops off heads.” Although I couldn’t pronounce it, I embraced my newfound identity and quickly explained to those around me who I was. “I’m the guy who chops off heads!” My peers were content with the explanation. It is surprising at how understanding a group of monsters can be.
P.S. LIKE WHATCHU READ?? Matt is a funny guy and I hear his instagram (@moen64), is pretty snazzy too! Follow him! Or he'll follow you...
I know it might be weird or cliche that I decided to blog about mustaches. Typical, right? Yeah, yeah, whatever! Just read, enjoy, complain and then comment. I wanna know what you think. Anyways, I was conversing with a college aged man last week and he asked the following, “I noticed that the angel guy on the logo on the back of your shirts has a mustache. Is it like a tradition or a requirement for at least one member of Divine Comedy to have a mustache?” Quite the inquiry my good fellow. “It’s more of a coincidence,” I replied. Currently, myself and Kenny are the only members with a mustache, but we have had other mustachioed cast members in the past. And even though, Steve, the DC Angel sports a mustache, our mustaches were born before we got into the group.
My mustache was born on August 26th, 2013; just a week and a half before I got into Divine Comedy. He just turned 1 year old, and oh what a celebration it was. I've always wanted a mustache... ever since I returned from serving an LDS mission in August 2011. I attempted to grow one, and though I thought it was cool, everyone else did not. I eventually shaved it off so that I could woo this girl, who ended up finally reciprocating my woos when I was clean shaven. (Yes, she eventually became my wife. And after 3.75 months of marriage, I began to grow a mustache once more.) Hey, I knew that she couldn't run from the horror this time, because she was already sealed to me forever. Ahahahahaha! Despite her pleas and complaints, I allowed my mustache to roam free, growing independently without restraint.
Now, if you've never grown a mustache before, then you don’t know the problems, persistence and persecution you must face. What most people do know is that some mustaches look good and some don’t. However, each mustache needs to be given sufficient time and love to one day become a magnificent piece of work. Some people don’t know that the mustache must not go through just one nasty phase, but several to receive the product that one desires. It took me a good 4 months to harvest a decent mustache. Between the time he sprouted to the time he was finally acceptable; people judged and they judged hard! I walked around campus and noticed peoples’ discriminating eyes as they viewed Salvador. At times, yes, it was hard to not look at the hideousness that festered above my upper lip, but other times I think they were just jealous. You will also receive a lot of opposition from people, especially loved ones. It’s never easy to hear your own mother tell you that “you need to shave that thing off.” But sometimes it’s even harder and more offensive when strangers tell you that you need to shave and that you are an embarrassment to humanity! That ‘aint right.
Some interesting and possibly disturbing tips that I've learned about my mustache:
Now, I do not recommend all men to have mustaches, but I do recommend that you at least try to grow one at least once. You’ll never know that you look super good with one if you don’t try. And if you don’t like it, then you don’t like it, but if you do, then you can thank me in mustache heaven. I believe in you!!!
Bryson Alejandro Frehner
What are your thoughts? Tell me what you think. I also want to hear from the ladies. Would you want a mustachioed man in your life? Would you dare to kiss a mustache? Do tell!
So it’s show week.
Anyone who’s ever been in any kind of performance group (plays, musicals, singing for old folk’s homes) knows that show week is the destroyer of souls.
My soul started out the week like this
And then we had to be off script...
And then Tech show.
And then all the assignments due post Tech show
So, you get kinda shredded by the end of the whole mess, but the show itself more than makes up for it. You ride that adrenaline all the way through four awesome, brilliant shows. Until you realize that you have done a great deal of nothing in the past week and you stay up all Saturday night doing assignments that are due Monday. A joy.
I love the heck out of it.
But what I love even more than DC shows is a good Holiday.
I’m a hardcore decorator of things. I eat up holidays like they’re candy. So the Christmas before I turned 17 I was very busy bedecking my home in its holiday finery when down the street walk the dear young missionaries.
Sometimes missionaries are attractive.
Sometimes you’re 16 and you dig that.
And sometimes you’re wearing an extra large paint shirt with fabulous swishy pants that are, oh yes, not so artfully ripped and torn. Oh, they also smell like an old tent.
You’re a stylish lady, yes ma’am.
….Yeah, I looked like your average hobo.
The missionaries came over to say hello as I finished stringing the lights on my porch. We exchanged some witty (?) banter and I decided that it was time to check out the results of my decorating skills.
I leapt down from my porch, like a boss. Really, I leapt down like I was mighty Thor descending. A champion. I turned around and began to jog backwards to get a better look of the porch. Again, I was a winner.
A winner who had forgotten about the stump in her front yard.
A winner who jogged backward right into that stump and smacked it with all the force a backward jogger can exert.
I hit that stump. And flew. I really soared. It was probably beautiful, in the way that oil spills are beautiful. So….not.
I hit the ground and my mind went into overdrive. It supplied me with two options:
1. Stay on your back and lie there like a struggling turtle and look like an utter fool or
2. Continue with that momentum from the fall and go into a backwards somersault.
Two! Pick two m’lord!
I continued that glorious fall, rolled like the most skilled pill bug you’ve ever seen, and hopped right back up on my feet. Without missing a beat I said:
“Yep, that’s a good lookin’ house”.
Indeed. I just went on like the entire acrobatics display had never happened.
See, people like me who succeed so entirely at life know that the best way out of a humiliating situation is to ignore it.
What I didn’t realize was that in my glorious fall my awful, smelly, stained shirt betrayed me. It pulled up most of the way up my back and stayed there. My poor back had gotten rather badly scratched in the process and you could see all those cuts in their glory.
There I stood, staring jauntily at my home, shirt halfway up my back, happily ignoring my failure at life, the picture of a sane and well-adjusted high school girl.
The elders burst out laughing.
Heck, I did too; it was hilarious!
But in that moment I knew that it was never acceptable to crush on a missionary. The Lord protects His own from weirdy teens. Oh yes He does.
And that, dear friends, is where I will leave you. With the image of my poor hobo self standing in all her majesty and the knowledge that you will always be cooler than someone.
So go through this week knowing that you’re awesome.
Oh, and you should follow me on Instagram @tori_pence.
You'll get to see gems like this...
Writer's block is the most unifying evil of the human race. When it's time to write, a universal phenomenon occurs: literally everything is more important. Mowing the lawn, brushing teeth, walking on hot coals, you name it. It's all more enticing and suddenly imperative.