Our Personal Therapist

May 23, 2013

So, I wrote a blog about my father.

And I wrote a blog about my sister.

And as I near the end of my High School career…I can’t help but notice there was one person I left out: My mother.

I think the reason I put this off so long is because it’s hard to describe the relationship between a mother and her kids. It’s easy to look at Dad and recognize him as a role model. He’s hilarious, he’s happy, and he seems to have it all together. It’s easy to look at Molly and know that she’s one of my best friends on this planet. And she always will be. But it’s hard to look at Mom and sum her up in one, quick swoop. I don’t say that to belittle the relationships that I’ve built with my other family members…but I’d be surprised if anyone could accurately describe the intricacies of motherhood.

Because mothers are so much to children. Life-givers. Care-takers. Wound-healers. The list goes on. Most apparent, however, is a mother’s ability to understand human nature. It just so happens that my mother also majored in psychology. So…I mean…that was kind of nice for Molly and I. She was like Our Personal Therapist. The public school system can get a little sticky at times, it’s nice to have someone to talk to. And Mom is always understanding. Sure, she could apply a little tough-love sometimes, but it never took long for us to realize that she was right. She was always right.

You know the funny thing? And I know, I just know I got this from my Dad: Sometimes, it would take me forever to realize I had an issue only Mom could solve. (Stupid pride.) I would be faced with a moral dilemma and it would worry me for days before there would just be some night that I’d look at her and think: You Idiot. There’s the solution right there.

And, without fail, the solution was right there.

She’s brilliant. She’s the taker of blurry photographs. She’s funny. She’s the inventor of the middle-aged-woman-friendly dance move: “The Margie” (which mostly just involves snapping your fingers to either side of your head.) She’s got great stories. She understands people better than I ever will. And she was always this constant support in my Life that I know I would be nowhere without.

As I go off to the college where she got her doctorate, I want to raise a glass to her and say: This one’s for you.

This one’s for the Track meets. The PAC shows. The Cross Country races. The Homecomings. The Destination Imaginations. The banquets. The books. The Proms. Everything. This one’s for you.

-Brian Wiegand (An Idiot, A Superman in training)

Our Personal Therapist

The Life of an Idiot Crest

As the year comes to a conclusion, it is wise to reflect on the past 365 days and how they have changed you.

I chose a lyric from the Mumford & Sons’ song Babel to title this post because I think it ties in well with my last year.

I don’t think I’ve ever lived a year better spent in love. Spent, of course, could have multiple meanings in this context. “Spent” as in I’ve lived in it. Or “spent” as in I’ve given it away, I’ve paid with it. And I think I can relate to both meanings.

This time last year, PAC was getting underway and I was participating in the last year of Mr. Nott. We were working on a show written by Mr. Nott entitled Dune Shadow and I’d been blessed with the opportunity to play Will. The season was spent surrounded by people who I truly cared deeply about. Friends who I still cling to today. That season, we didn’t make it past Regionals…but it was also the season that we made a trip to Saugatuck and performed the show for the schools there because it was local history. In that same day, we visited the actual ruins of Singapore, the setting of our story. It’s a shame that Mr. Nott had to retire from being PAC Director, but I’m glad that I was there to experience his last year.

As Dune Shadow ended, Track and Glitter began. And it wasn’t long until One Act auditions were being held. My third year as an MC for the High School talent show, Glitter, was spent with a group of people I wouldn’t trade for the world. Just thinking about the fun we had makes me feel all giddy. There’s really nothing like being on stage. Especially if it’s in the casual, goofy sense that surrounds Glitter MCing.

Track, of course, is not Cross Country. But what’s important is the people. And the people stay the same. Last Spring marked my fifth year running Track (if you count Middle School, which I probably shouldn’t.) It was filled, as always, with runners that I felt a deep connection with….See, it’s pretty hard to avoid becoming friends with the people who get to see you at your lowest moments. When a hard workout is close to being finished and I’m about to pass out and Jeremy or Sam or Nic or Willie or anyone comes up to me, pats me on the back, and says: “Almost done” that forms a indescribable bond. A true friend is there for your lows just as much as your highs.

One Acts were, as always, a blessing. The fact that I get to do One Acts at all stems from Coach Portis and his generosity in letting me do both One Acts and Track. Thanks to him, I got to play Carter White in Door to Door and I was given the chance to meet Jossie. Jossie played Stephanie, the only other character in our play. Another amazing thing about Coach Portis is that he comes every year to watch the performances. After our show, I went and sat next to him to thank him for letting me do this and I still remember what he told me: “Brian, it looked like you we’re having a lot of fun up there. I’m glad that I can let you do something that brings you so much joy. Good job.”

And then school ended. And Summer came. And Summer was filled with Cross Country and Carly. And this is really where I’d never felt so loved. That Summer was a balancing act as I tried to spend as much time as I could with the Cross Country Team and Carly. But it didn’t really matter how much time I spent with either because I knew it would never be enough. Eventually, Summer would end. Eventually, Carly would go off to Interlochen and the Cross Country season would conclude…at the same time, though, I was going to try and embrace every second I spent in the grace of those who I loved and loved me.

Sadly, Carly did leave.

Sadly, Cross Country did end.

“I’ll see you later.” I told Carly.

“Seniors, this’ll be your last race ever with me as your head Coach. It’s been an honor.” Coach Portis said.

Both occasions were bittersweet.

Of course, now we’re almost caught up with the present. This PAC season is barely underway but I’ve enjoyed the few rehearsals we’ve had so far and I’m excited to play Juror No. 8. Once break is over, we’ll be back at the ol’ grind, working hard to make the play the best it can be.

I suppose there’s only one last thing to talk about…and that’s this blog. And this blog has helped me with thanking those who’ve helped fill this last year with love. And I can’t help but realize that I owe everyone who surrounds me all the kindness they deserve for making 2012 one of the best years ever…because I’ve Never Lived a Year Better Spent in Love.

-Brian Wiegand (An Idiot, A Superman in training)

A Very Idiotic Christmas

December 23, 2012

A Very Idiotic Christmas

It’s hard to find someone who can genuinely say that there is nothing about the Holiday Season that they enjoy. There’s such a multitude of joyous events that I think it’s nearly impossible to be a Scrooge…or a Grinch…or whatever. Holidays in the Wiegand household are always happy. And I can think of quite a few reasons why that’s true for me…

Christmas Music

There isn’t much that my family does over the holiday season that doesn’t involve Christmas music in the background. My personal favorite Christmas album is Michael Bublé’s. The man has the voice of an angel. I would totally say his rendition of All I Want For Christmas Is You beats Mariah Carey’s any day of the week. And that little girl’s version from Love Actually is in a close third. I have this friend named Grace who thinks the little girl beats ’em all, but I don’t think I could ever agree with that. Anyway, I believe it’s next to impossible to overplay Christmas music because you only get to listen to it for, like, one month every year. So sing on, Mr. Bublé.

The Gingerbread House Building Competition

This’ll be happening in just a few minutes! I’m trying to get this post up before Molly gets home because when she does get here, we’ll probably start working on our masterpieces. (And then Molly and I are probably going to play Jak and Daxter until the wee hours of the morning…Ah, Christmas.) Each year, my family participates in a Gingerbread House Building Competition where we work to see who can build the best Gingerbread House. (Pretty self-explanatory.) We cover the table with graham crackers, frosting, candy, paper plates, knives, icing, and some scrap pieces of cardboard (To give our walls support (But sometimes Mom makes this big deal about how the Gingerbread Houses have to be entirely edible.)) In the end, mine is generally pretty pathetic. Molly’s is consistently near perfection thanks to her artistic touch. Mom’s is oddly…homey…like, it always has this maternal vibe to it. And Dad’s is always really bizarre. I think he feels like he spends his whole Life designing realistic buildings as a career, and this competition is the one time he can design something totally absurd and really unrealistic just for fun. So he goes ahead and does it. Usually resulting in a lot of laughter from the rest of us.

The Family Gathering

Every year, on Christmas Day, my Mom’s side of the family gathers in a single house. It’s pretty packed, to say the least. And there are traditions to uphold. A huge dinner. A White-Elephant style gift exchange. Songs from Uncle Ed and my cousin, Matt. And it’s always a blast. It’s always one of the big highlights of my Christmas Season. One memory that I recall fondly was when my cousins used to quiz me on the names of our relatives because I had some difficulty remembering them all…

The Frozen Lake

I live across from this lake and it usually freezes in the Winter. I don’t know what’s up this year but we’ve barely seen a lick of snow. And, unfortunately, the lake hasn’t frozen. In past years, though, Dad will shovel off a little ice rink in lake for people to skate on. Sometimes, he even makes these little paths that lead further out into the lake. I’ve always thought that walking on a frozen lake was a really cool thing. It’s so open and bright. The snow reflects the sun in every direction, it’s like the ground is covered with trillions of tiny mirrors.

Waking Up On the 25th

I’m 17. In a few short months, I will legally be considered an adult…But I still get giddy the night before Christmas. Waking up on the 25th of December is exciting. I’m excited to see the look on Molly’s face when she sees what I got her. (And I’m worried about what look I’ll see on my parents face when they see what I got them…They’re so hard to shop for.) And I’d be lying if I said I didn’t get a little bit excited about whatever was under that tree with my name on it. Of course, we get it drilled in our head that: “Christmas is about giving, not getting.” And that’s totally true. And I think it’s important to be grateful for what we do receive. And I think it’s important to be grateful for what we can give…But that doesn’t mean it’s not nice to receive gifts…Just as long as we all keep our heads on straight.

The Season

In the end, it’s all about “that time of year.” It’s all about the Holiday Season. It’s all about the fact that this is the time of year that we unanimously give each other an excuse to drop everything and remember that we’re surrounded by people we love. Friends. Family. I’d be willing to give it all up…the music, the competition, the lake, the morning of Christmas…as long as I still had my two weeks off of School and as long as I still had my two weeks spent entirely with people that I cared about and people that cared about me.

So, to all of you out there reading this…

Happy Holidays from an Idiot.

-Brian Wiegand (An Idiot, A Superman in training)

To Sir, With Love

November 17, 2012

Now that Cross Country is over, I find myself reflecting on my last four years a lot. I mean, I still get to train with Coach Portis and the boys every day (we’re going to a voluntary Cross Country meet (the Midwest Footlocker Invite) in Wisconsin right after Thanksgiving) but it’s really not the same as training with the whole Team. I miss the collectiveness of everyone coming together to be part of something so much bigger than all of us. But I won’t ever have that again. Not with Cross Country, at any rate. There’s still our Performing Arts Company show this Winter. And Glitter (the school talent show) in the Spring. And Track in the Spring. And the One Act Play Festival in the Spring…I have a busy Spring. Maybe I don’t have anything to complain about with “missing collectiveness”…but I’ll always miss the group that ushered me into High School Life.

Anyway…where was I? Oh yeah, reflection upon the past four years! Right…so, one of my fondest memories was at Cross Country Camp my Sophomore Year. At the start of the week, Coach Portis gave us the name of a fellow runner. By the end of the week, we had to know two good things about them that we could share with the Team at a bonfire. Sophomore Year, I had Nate…more commonly referred to by his last name in an obnoxious tone. Anyway, I wrote a little comical poem for Nate and recited it to the group. I think they enjoyed it. Nate certainly seemed to appreciate it.

As the bonfire came to a close…I grew more and more nervous.

See, one thing that I noticed my Freshman Year was that every kid had two good things said about them…but the Coaches didn’t get their moment in the spotlight. Of course, at the end of the season, they always get a extremely heartfelt speech from the captains. But I decided, for some reason, that I really wanted to do something for the Coaches that year at camp. So, I memorized the lyrics to “To Sir, With Love” and recited it as a poem. (I can’t sing…at all. I wanted to honor them, not hurt their ears.)

I stood up at the end of the bonfire, nervous and slightly shaking. I looked around at the group illuminated by the reddish glow of the fire…and just started into it…

Those schoolgirl days of telling tales and biting nails are gone.

But in my mind…

I know they will still live on and on

But how do you thank someone who has taken you from cross trainers to spikes?

It isn’t easy…but we’ll try.

If you wanted the sky…we’d write across the sky in letters

That would soar a thousand feet high

To Sir, With Love

The time has come

For closing books and long, last looks must end.

And as we leave,

We know that we’re leaving our best friend

A friend who taught us right from wrong…

And weak from strong…

That’s a lot to learn,

What, what can we give you in return?

If you wanted the moon…We would try to make a start

But we’d rather you let us give our hearts

To Sir, With Love

And then I sat down. Coach Portis nodded and said:

“That was really nice, thanks guy.”

I dunno. Just thinking about the past makes this memory come up a lot. Hearing the song again and typing the lyrics makes me realize just how perfectly it applies to Coach Portis and Coach Flynn. The idea of “leaving” applied back when we were about to leave camp…and it applies even more now. When we were at the State Meet and the race was just about to start, Coach Portis looked all of us Seniors dead in the eye and said: “This is the last race that I’ll be your head Coach.” And I felt my face warp and tears well up. I think that has a lot to do with why I got my personal record that day. And then there’s Coach Flynn. At least I still get to somewhat experience Coach Portis again as Track Coach in the Spring (he’s technically not the distance Coach, he’s the hurdling Coach.) But Coach Flynn recently announced that she would be stepping down from her position on the Track Team…

That means my time with Coach Flynn is over.

And I take the knowledge that I’ve had my last race with Coach Flynn. And I take the knowledge that Cross Country is over. And I take the knowledge that Coach Portis is no longer my Head Coach. And I remember the moment that I recited the song…

And I just wish that Coach Portis and Coach Flynn could be reminded every single day about everything they’ve done for all of us.

I wish they could be reminded that we would write across the sky for them.

That we would catch the moon for them.

-Brian Wiegand (An Idiot, A Superman in training)

The Battle of Masterpieces

September 10, 2012

One of my best friends in the entire world is Zach. Zach is a guy I can tell anything and receive no judgement. Zach is a guy I can look up to. Zach is a guy I can count on. Zach is a guy I love to have by my side. Zach is a guy who I can make fun of…and he can make fun of me right back. Zach is…Zach. He’s my Zachie-Poo. And I love him.

Friends like Zach are important. Any Idiot could tell you that. Life isn’t…Life when you go through it without someone to share things with. And that’s why I’m so glad I have Zach. Most recently, Zach and I are going through our Senior Year of High School together. Also, as of this year, Zach and I are partaking in the Battle of Masterpieces. Let’s go back…oh, I don’t know…to Seventh Grade really quick…

I was sitting in Computer class type-type-typing away when my teacher, Mr. Bussies, suddenly said: “Well, hey there, Mr. Quartermaine.” I looked around and saw a burly man with short-cropped, black hair standing in the doorway.

“Hey, Mr. Bussies, mind if I talk to the kids for a second?” the man, Mr. Quartermaine, asked.

“Go right ahead.” said Mr. Bussies.

I don’t really remember a whole lot of what Mr. Quartermaine said…but I do remember one thing:

“…By your Senior Year, we’re trying to make sure that every student in the High School has some kind of personalized computer.”

I sort of forgot all about Mr. Quartermaine saying that…until last year…

“Have you heard the news?” said almost every student in Gull Lake.

“What?” said all the other students.

“We’re getting iPads next year! All of us! We each get one!” And so it went.

Word of the technology initiative that lead to these iPads spread quickly. Students had mixed reactions. Many argued that these devices were a pointless waste of money and they would only distract us. A few stood up for the Apple technology and claimed it would be useful, they were the minority, though.

A few weeks before School started, the members of Student Senate (that’s me) got to receive their iPads early. We were the guinea pigs to see how quick the iPad Rollout process could work. Anyway, I got my iPad. And it was awesome.

It still is awesome. I love my iPad. I feel like I’ve put it to good use. Especially with the Battle of Masterpieces…

And so we come full circle. Back to the Battle of Masterpieces.

I create Zachsterpieces. And Zachie-Poo makes Braintings. Which means, we use our iPads to create beautiful portraits of each other and send them to one another through the iPads iMessage system. Of course, because Zach and I are model students (Jeez, I can’t believe I typed that with a straight face), we only do this in passing time or at lunch…right.

This post is to show you the Latest and Greatest of the Zachsterpieces and Braintings…

Let’s begin now…

It all started with this…

 

A picture of Zach. And this…

 

A picture of me. And at this point, there had been no fouls by either party…until Zachie-Poo sent this

 

Zach’s always been a line-crosser. That jerk. As if I would ever grow a mustache. So, I sent this…

 

You bet I made him feel pretty silly. Ha. What a chump. Then Zach sent me this

 

I suppose that one was from a friend of ours, Grace…but it came from his iPad. Clearly, I couldn’t take such an insult. So, I sent a barrage…

 

First, Zach Potter. I should clarify, I love Harry Potter…so, I don’t see how this one was quite an insult…

 

 

The Zach. Ha! As if Zach would ever have such a “chiseled” body. (Sculpting pun.) In all honesty, though, I appreciate Zach’s physique…that’s okay to say…right…?

 

Another classic, the Zach Lisa. Notice the professional craftsmanship of the photoshop…I’ll bet Zach was feeling pretty silly now.

 

And now we see Zach Wiegand. In other words, we see Zach as me! How absurd. Zach was totally regretting that mustache now.

 

I felt like there was more too the Zach Potter story, so I created Zach Potter Goes to Hogwarts! Look how happy he is in his little boat…Ehem! I still totally hate Zach, though…

 

And I ended the barrage with The Last Zach-Bender. An instant classic. Again, this one wasn’t very insulting…oh well. Then, Zach retaliated with his second Brainting…

 

To be honest, I’m not really sure what that is…but I find it insulting…for some reason! So, I sent back…

 

That’s right. Brian and the Creation of Zach. I made him. He owes me. Instead, he humiliates me with mustaches!

 

A healthy Meme reference this may be, but it doesn’t compare to what I sent him next. My piece de resistance…

 

Third Wheel Teel. Enough said.

 

Followed by The Last Zupper. And then…

 

Hope for Americans: Zach Obama For President. Only two problems: No one would vote for Zach. And Zach isn’t Black…

 

Another Meme reference. I’ll admit…that one was okay.

 

As if I would ever wear that dress…

 

Our revered Cross Country Coach and feared AP Chemistry teacher…Mr. Portis…transformed into Brian Portis…! Zach’s work had to be replicated…

 

Zach Portis Sits at His Perch. Classic. Zach responded with another Grace-assisted post…

 

Me as Grace. The most amusing aspect of this piece, however, is the girls expression in the background…”WTF” indeed, Zachary. “WTF” indeed.

 

Lastly, I did this. Zach as Zach. Because, truly, the highest insult would be to, of course, put Zach’s head on his own body. Ha!

And that’s as far as the Battle of Masterpieces has gone. Of course, Zach and I are still on speaking terms for now, but our conversations are generally very thick with deceit. Our mouths are very civil while our eyes plot the next humiliating scenario that we will put each other in.

Perhaps the Battle of Masterpieces will never be won. Who knows?

All I know is that it’s been a great way to start of Senior Year with one of my favorite people in the world. Zach’s been by my side for seven years. I’ve been by Zach’s side for seven years. Maybe one of the worst things about knowing that High School is ending is knowing that Zach and I will reach a parting of the ways. Already, the odds of us going to the same college are slim.

I don’t know what the future holds. But I know one thing. One thing that someone very wise told me once…

“It doesn’t matter if it’s 20 days or 20 years…there are some friends that you just hold on to. There are some friends that could call you years from now, and it would be like you’d seen each other just yesterday. There are some friends who you’d always be there for.”

I’d like to think I have a few friends like that…

One in particular, though, is Zach.

Zach is my friend, through and through.

He’s my Zachie-Poo.

And I love him.

-Brian Wiegand (An Idiot, A Superman in training)