Friday, July 17, 2009
I think music is a great medium that extracts that feeling out of us. You hear a song and you can sit and stare or you are in a state of tranced movement where the colors are a blur of sounds, music, friends, lights, and energy. Today I sat and listened and thought about what the music meant to me at the time I first heard it. I thought about the song and who first suggested I listen to it. I think we have those moments. You may or may not know what I’m talking about, but surely if you have ears and can hear, you can identify with the feeling. As the song plays you run through a kaleidoscope of memories, so fast you may wish that you could replay it again and again. Maybe on a big screen. Maybe in a private viewing though….
I have a good amount of friends who are into music. Some make their own. Some produce. Some are so talented they have no idea how much I admire them. Some play instruments. Some play on a keyboard. Some of you just like to listen and let the music play you. Maybe wonder where the people you first heard those songs with are at in their lives. Maybe you’re like me and you keep those mental snapshots and music is there. In the background as you were running through your life. If you’re like me, a city dweller, maybe music goes with you everywhere you go.
Today I listened to the words of this song. I heard them and they still resonated as they did the first time I heard it. Still a very powerful song and I’m left asking questions. I’m left with no conclusion, but I am smiling and shaking my head. A grin more like it. I got the message when I heard the song. It was their way of saying sorry without saying sorry. Maybe if you can do just that, play a song that is what you want to say to someone. I guess that’s just the same as saying it, but that song will play again and well, the statement will be timeless. What is ironic that no matter what feelings the song may bring about, you will listen to it, right?
I’m happy the song came on today. The song is still good. Just like the person who first suggested I listen to it. I’ve once been told that I was a bit of a “cold” person. I guess, maybe so in person, but maybe that’s why I am forced to write even if no one ever even reads. I figure if I can write like this than there’s something in there. The song of the Tin Man from Wizard of Oz comes to mind…..but no man is made of metal.
I left a part out.
Where words fail, music speaks.
-Hans Christian Andersen
Friday, June 12, 2009
out of office
Whatever your flavor, we’ve all asked for help at certain times. In times of need or times of support, I think that we help calm our emotions and minds by saying a little something internally. For me, those words have come at simple times and at dire-straights times. Walking up to the plate to face the pitcher in college or walking up to the judge to beg for mercy. Walking into an interview or walking out on a relationship. Walking away from a parent or walking towards your next love. Walking away from an accident or walking into the room as your wife is giving birth. Walking out of a cell or walking into freedom.
We’ve all said a little something. So you say something and wonder if anyone hears you. Is there someone out there listening to your requests. Or are you getting an arbitrary out of office from above? I guess these days you just go to the back-up. The person or um, being next in line to grant your wishes. It’s good to get these thoughts out to a friend, family member or confidant. I love hearing about people’s lives. I love hearing about their hopes and dreams and the excitement it brings them. It always instills in me that belief that it’s good to strive for things you want in life.
Giving advice can be a double-edged sword though and I have come far enough to know that giving advice is like throwing a paper airplane off a roof. You never know which direction it will take, but you know at some point it will land. Does that make sense or did I just talk some shit? What I mean is that sometimes, people close to us want advice. You give advice to two types of people. People that listen and absorb. And people who do nothing but listen and give you 1,000 reasons why you’re wrong and don’t know any better. A few close friends. The principal, the police officer, the city of Philadelphia, might say I was the person who doesn’t listen. But really, I think we do a little bit of both a different points of life. I mean, did anyone want to hear, “underage drinking is bad. You’re breaking the law son!” when you were enjoying your senior year or senior summer out of high school and getting wasted every night? NO! That’s what I mean.
I recently gave a person close to me advice and all they did was give me reasons why I was wrong. So I just gave up. I didn’t give up on the person, but I gave up on giving them advice and now have to sit idly by as they walk through the field of dynamite and roses called “the early twenties”. What the person doesn’t understand is that the advice-giver is affected by the actions the advice-receiver takes. Otherwise, why would the giver feel the need to provide guidance? It took me almost a decade or so to understand this logic, but I see it more and more as I am the giver. I’ve made the mistakes not to teach lessons, but by my own carelessness and unintelligent decisions. I guess we’ve all been there at one time or another. Probably just at different levels of severity.
I guess all I’m saying is that advice is only as good as the audience receiving it is willing to listen and learn. Otherwise, it’s a lot of white noise.
My advice to you this weekend is to have fun. I don’t care what that entails because your life is not my life, but be safe while doing so because people around you care about you.
Parents can only give good advice or put them on the right paths, but the final forming of a person's character lies in their own hands. -Anne Frank
Thursday, May 14, 2009
That means Social Security will have to turn to its trust fund to make up the difference between Social Security taxes and the benefits being paid out beginning in 2016. The trustees projected the trust fund would be depleted in 2037, four years earlier than the 2041 date in last year's report.
At that point, the annual Social Security taxes collected would be enough to pay for three-fourths of current benefits through 2083. To tap the trust fund, the government would have to increase borrowing or raise taxes because Social Security bonds exist only as bookkeeping entries.
Okay, so people in the 21 to 34 age group might be good until 2083. There goes my plan on living to be 105. Okay. I get it. The country is hurting; physically, mentally, financially, and socially. I just get tired of the money media, wall street, cnnmoney.com, yahoo finance, AOL Money, etc. I mean, I keep up with current events. I keep up with the world. I keep up with friends. Does anyone wonder why social-networking sites have grown exponentially in the past 3 years? Maybe because I’d rather find out about my friend having a baby, a buddy getting engaged, someone having a party, or maybe just glancing over some pictures a person posted. Why the hell would I want to continue to read that life won’t be getting better for a whole lot of people? I know. I have to face reality, but how many of you might pick up a novel, an autobiography, a magazine about improving your self-image rather than dwell on the current state of affairs?
As if job loss, unemployment benefit increase, homelessness, hunger, and loss of a secure future aren’t frightening enough. Maybe someone will suggest that I don’t want to deal with real-life problems, but I’ve been one of the 8.9% in the past and do understand that feeling. It is not something I enjoyed. I learned a lot from it. I learned I would take any job to have income. No job is ever too menial, demeaning, discouraging, or disheartening as long as there’s a roof over your head and food in the bellies of your loved ones.
I never thought I would loathe uber-rich & super-duper successful people so much as I do now. We’re not talking about the people who make a few bucks. I’m talking about the people that clear a few million or more a year as individuals. Hiding US dollars overseas and creating trust-fund babies that will only help themselves. We need to look closer at the people holding the strings. There is no way a man like Bernie Madoff and a few buddies could throw a rock across the economic pond and have it cause as many ripples as it did.
Mr. SEC chairman? Would it have been a better clue if Madoff had a Dalmatian with dollar signs for spots? Or maybe a huge gated entrance made of gold with dollar signs as handles? Guess not. Could of just been an episode of CRIBS, right?
Am I ranting yet? Probably. I guess that with all of these oversight committees, the IRS, the SEC, the FBI, the FTC, the CIA, & the strong arm of the law that we’d be able to catch a one-man magic show. It’s all good. This guys family will have to endure years if not decades of pain just for having the name. I don’t even know if anyone is innocent in that situation because when you are making a billion a year everyone gets to enjoy that kind of living. I just don’t get how you might catch up to someone average who didn’t pay the appropriate city wage taxes or forgot to mention the school district they live in on their 1040, but you can’t catch a guy who had 3,200 clients, international accounts, and billions of dollars in stolen contributions & fake earnings on investments.
I know no one is impressed when a fisherman catches a guppy. They’re just a product of the hunt, so let them go. Go after the whales and you’ll be able to feed the tribe for a long time.
I think somewhere along the line these guys behind the curtains got the American Dream all mixed up after a few too many happy hours and few days of shredding in the back office. It really shouldn’t be too difficult to be ethical in business when the deterrent is prison, but I digress. I know the desire to be on top of the world can lead people to do ridiculous things in any facet of life. I’m not obtuse to that dynamic.
I guess I’m just confused as to how someone can live the life of a success while they are nothing but a fraud. I guess these days you can buy cred.
Have a great weekend. I’m off to Chicago to find a sugar momma. Just kidding. Really, I’m kidding.
If money be not they servant, it will be thy master. The covetous man cannot so properly be said to possess wealth, as that may be said to possess him. -Francis Bacon
Wednesday, May 6, 2009
I wish I didn’t. I’m thankful I have four sisters that can help me out when I have questions about women. Women, I’d have to say you have a guy friend or even maybe a boyfriend or husband that you ask questions to as to why certain things happen. I mean, this has to be natural right? I mean, I’m not just talking about relations with other people. Could be anything in life.
I spend too much time thinking of the “why” around events that occur in the daily life. I know that it is flaw of mine. I mean, I think of some characters I’ve seen in movies and hear their words that they’re just going where life takes them and have no worries. I wish that was the case for me and tons of others. It’s not like I don’t believe some of the things that may occur in my life, but I always want to know why. Almost so badly that I’d almost rather know the why then have something good occur again. Does that sound ridiculous? I just read that statement again and it does sound ridiculous. It sounds stupid because something good that happens should be totally welcomed and appreciated.
I am laughing because so many situations come to mind. A guy/girl sees you running for an elevator and doesn’t hold it for you. One of two things. One, they didn’t want to help. Two, they wanted to help, but were too lazy. Now, doesn’t all that change if said guy/girl is attracted to you. The whole dynamic of that situation changes because they will make the effort to make sure your ass gets on that elevator, no? Whoever you are, try it sometime. I know it’s totally superficial, but I have no idea what you look like and you may have no clue who the hell I am.
Something recently happened to me that caught me off guard. Don’t know why the person said it. Don’t know why they did it. I want to think about the motives before just accepting what they did because I guess that’s how my mind works. Think of the why. It wasn’t like what happened was bad, but maybe I want to happen again and if I figure out the why, maybe I can make it happen. But I have to stop. I can’t make something that occurred naturally happen. It just has to happen. So therein lay a choice?
Do you wait for it to happen again or do you take action to increase the chance it can happen again?
Don’t let your dirty mind go wandering. I am fairly good with words and you have probably assumed something totally opposite to what happened. But I digress. Think as you like. Play as you like.
And as I wrote this tonight….something else just happened that trumped what happened earlier in my story. And I reacted and took it as it came and let words roll, um, yeah, roll of my hands…..cause like I reply via email.
I guess, after all of what I experienced the past few days; I figure it like this. It happens. It’s going to happen. If it’s bad, accept, adapt, & change. If it’s good, accept, adapt, enjoy. Two out of the three reactions are the same. I’ve wasted so much time on thinking of the why I never got to enjoy the fact that it even happened. Maybe that’s what happened to all those scientists who spent decades wondering how we all got here…..they kept wondering and stopped enjoying life.
Happy Mother’s Day to all the mothers out there.
The most important thing in communication is to hear what isn't being said.
Friday, April 24, 2009
Anyhow, I ask myself this week, why not? I’ve never really set limitations on life. That’s probably not the best thing to do. You should probably set some limitations on some things in life. Fun should have limitations. Unfortunately I guess I have not seen any in some time. Work should have limitations. Often times people are telling me to “not worry about it” or “put that thing (laptop, blackberry, carrier pigeon) down”. I don’t know. It’s probably some of our worst flaws. As I write this I’m trying to focus on listening. But I can’t tell you where I am or what I’m listening to. Anyhow, sometimes, when something happens good to other people around me, the natural reaction is to sometimes think “will that happen to me?”, “when will I do that”, “when will we all get together and do something like that?” I guess recently, actually this week, I said why not now? Why not soon? Why not?
It’s almost like we’re all waiting for things to happen. I don’t care who you are, you’re waiting in some regard for certain things to occur. From E in Chicago who runs at the speed of light. To the principal who runs in his mind, but strolls in reality. To me, I don’t even know what I do. I think I do one of those walks Fred Astair or Gene Kelly did with the umbrella. Right leg out, left leg out, skip, jump, and repeat every 10 feet. Often times my mind is going a lot faster than my mouth or my fingers, but recently, I’ve been thinking a lot about things. I think I need someone to call me so I can just sit and listen to them so maybe for a day I can stop thinking about what I should say…um, or write. That reminds me. Might be time to call one of my four sisters.
I sometimes question the limits. I used to think the limit on something to be done was time. Time was always the deadline. Had to make varsity by 11th grade. Had to get that college application in by August (thank you PSU-Delco for letting me take entrance exams 7 days prior to the start of classes). Had to graduate college in four years (okay. 4.5. it was worth the fun). Had to get a job by graduation. Had to get a better job. Had to go to grad school. Had to finish the thesis. Had to finish probation.…well, you get my point.
Well, all the while I thought time was the limit on achieving certain things in life. I think that I was wrong in that assumption. I guess society imposes the time constraints on us. Maybe some unmarried gents and gals will agree, but then again maybe you won’t. Not like you have to be honest with me. I hardly know you right?
I guess the conclusion I came to regarding limits was that it wasn’t time. It was me. I placed all these limits on myself. I suggested there be limits. I thought certain things had to be done by a certain time. The older I get. The more I believe that the goal is not to get things done by a certain time, but to get things done right. It’s important to remember that this doesn’t just apply to trivial things in life. It can apply to everything.
I guess I’m more apt to want take my time and do something right than rush and do something wrong. On the other side of the coin I know time waits for no man and that certain things you will want to achieve a certain time, date, age, minute, or day. No doubt about that. And I understand the logic, so keep it up.
It’s not selfish to want time to yourself. The world understands that not every time can our time be spent in public. It may be those moments when you appreciate yourself or those you love most that you spend your time wisely. I can say that I’ve probably learned the most about myself in the time I have spent in solitude. By wish or warrant I was by myself, but there was a reason for both venues.
Don’t ever set a limit on the time you spend doing what you love. Those times are often the shortest and end the most abruptly in life. When you’re doing what you love or spending time with great company you wish time could stand still, but most times it speeds right on by into the space of memory or afterthought. I guess that’s the time when I wish there were no clocks and the sun never set….
“Time is the coin of your life. It is the only coin you have, and only you can determine how it will be spent. Be careful lest you let other people spend it for you”. -Carl Sandburg
Tuesday, April 14, 2009
on the limb
I have to say that all of these play a part in how we react to a question that we answer. I was recently forced to answer some questions. The questions were personal questions and they were asked of an entire group where the answers were not shared, but the answers would be information available to the instructors. I didn’t think of the ramifications of answering the questions honestly. I really didn’t think that I would be such a small percentage of the group that answered the questions honestly. I answered the questions honestly.
Do you ever feel bad about answering a question honestly when the result is you being punished, bashed, or in worse shape than you were prior to being asked the question?
I’m a somewhat intelligent person. If someone asks me a question I respond with either an answer of truth or an answer of opinion. That depends on the type of question.
Is it easier to tell someone what they want to hear? Sure it is. I mean, if you tell someone something they don’t want to hear, you have to explain yourself. Usually, that is in a specific situation. But when we’re talking about factual responses, what is the benefit of telling a lie? If you ask a group of people the same question and the group knows that the answers could get them in trouble, do you question the majority or the minority of differentiated answers? Does this make sense? Maybe not so clear.
A group of kids is caught stealing in a department store. When confronted, all of the kids says they didn’t steal anything. When confronted individually, these kids all have different answers. Two admitted to stealing and two do not admit anything. Where does the blame lay? Did all four steal or did two steal and admit they stole? Did two get off easy and two face the music? Could we ever really know unless we were there and witnessed them stealing? No.
You know what sucks about the story above? The kids that stole and admitted it are telling the truth and they are the ones who will be blamed and charged. While two kids that could of also stole are not admitting it and are being let free. Does that seem right? I don’t feel like it is, but maybe I am the dumbest intelligent person out there.
I think we’ve almost been programmed to tell the truth to a certain extent. Tell the truth until it becomes a weapon against your armor. I don’t get that logic, but why does it seem so common today? Well, I’m going to figure it out very soon. I decided to tell the truth in a very important situation and when confronted with being the small minority of people who told the truth I was also punished. Now it’s my turn. I have confronted the people who asked the questions in the first place and had one thing to ask. I asked how a small percentage of honesty can be measure by a large majority of liars?
When a lie travels through a large group isn’t it interesting how that lie starts to become the truth? I guess we’re still on the playground, but there is just so much more on the line these days.
"The pure and simple truth is rarely pure and never simple." -Oscar Wilde
Friday, April 3, 2009
I heard that lyric in a song I recently heard and it seemed pretty right for the feeling of the time right now. I think when you are at peace with yourself you’ve really come to a great point in your life. I guess we all have our hang-ups and insecurities, but it’s great when you realize that there is a person or persons that can totally bring you up at any time.
The weekend is once again upon us. Gonna head back over the hills and stop by the old stomping grounds for a minute. I haven’t hung out in a while, but looking forward to seeing some familiar faces this weekend. And a chance to see some family as well. I always wish I had more time around the people who seem to matter most. And the ones that don’t matter any more, maybe some time to figure out why they don’t matter or why we don’t matter to them. I guess it happens.
I find it interesting how quick perception and attitude change these days. We are like a key-stroke away from a range of feelings. It’s almost funny. I think of social-networking sites and how just someone’s messages, status, or posting can evoke feelings. I mean, words on a screen, right? Kind of like Orson Welles’ radio broadcast in 1938. A hoax. A simulated radio broadcast to scare the listeners all over the country. It was radio days. No way to really “know” if aliens were in fact landing. Words over the waves. Words on a screen. Take them with a grain of salt folks.
Some things in life just make you think, wow. Like did he or she really just say or do that? Are you really standing there saying that to me? Are you really going to try and treat me this way and get away with it? This week I was wowed, but in a good way. You have to appreciate the good surprises in life because they not only bring about an emotional reaction, but they also make you think of the motives behind the surprise. In any case, don’t think too long or else it will lose the shine of surprise.
I hope you all have some plans this weekend. As usual I’ll be entertaining in the show. I’m really hoping the 3 million dollars they spent on this place in the County looks like 3 million dollars should look. I guess it doesn’t matter cause everyone will most likely be well greased on Saturday night…
Anyhow, really. Right around this time of the year I reminisce about…wait I just spelled reminisce correctly. Wow. Even I’m not impressed easily, but that was impressive. Highlight of my work day. Anyhow, it’s a good time to re-connect with friends you don’t usually get the chance to hang out or go back to those places that make you think about how life was when you were 16, 17, or 18. I’m sure those were some good years in your life. Getting done school and heading into the summer. I’ll be seeing some old friends this weekend. Some I’ve only seen about one or two times the past decade. Should be very interesting. It’s great how you can always go home, but I know for some home is no longer a physical place, but rather that spot in your heart where you protect yourself with great friends and great memories from your past.
Go out and live through your memories of days past gone.
“I would like to be remembered as a man who had a wonderful time living life, a man who had good friends, fine family - and I don't think I could ask for anything more than that, actually.” -Frank Sinatra
Wednesday, April 1, 2009
People are not always used to the reaction you may give them when something is said or done. I can admit. I have also been guilty, but I almost laugh when some people can’t even accept the other-than-expected reaction to something. None of us are the same, so why would any of us expect any one to react the same way about something. If you act outside of what’s expected you are somehow breaking norms, but I don’t really agree. You react the way you react because that’s just the natural fashion of who you are. The word pushover comes to mind.
What kind of person would you be if you just let someone run all over you and you just kept your reaction all bottled up inside? Wouldn’t that be a slight of the person you are deep down? The person you were raised to or not raised to be? I’ve seen this reaction go both ways. From the utterly insanely happy to the downright raging anger. Both are very extreme, but I don’t care to knock them. I give people a lot of credit for being able to express themselves. The people that got across to me the most in life were the people that I genuinely felt an emotional tie to. I could feel the joy or pain coming through in their reaction to something that happened. I’ve never been one to just go with the flatline that can sometimes be life. Wake, work, dinner, sleep. And begin again. It’s just so damn boring. Yeah, simple is good, but simple does not mean “without emotion”.
Recently a close friend told me they were having some problems in their relationship and they were angry about it. I understood where they were coming from, but while I noticed the hint of anger and talked about their feelings/emotions regarding the relationship, I noticed another thing about the person. I noticed that they never said “I’m done” or “I’m out of here” or “I quit”. I give this person the utmost respect in life and have watched them develop into a really great parent and spouse. At that moment it shed some light on some things in that type of committed relationship. It seems a lot easier to quit than it does to make it work. But nothing worthwhile ever came easy, did it? Jobs, degrees, success, body, happiness…no one would ever sit there and say their life was simple and easy. Even if I thought it was in my eyes, I wouldn’t slight someone like that and say they had it easy.
All I can say with regard to emotions is recognize them when they do occur. Whether it’s coming from you or being directed toward you. If you’re the other half of the equation it usually means that person really cares about you. Try and respect that emotion. If it’s positive, hold on to it. If it’s negative, at least care enough about the person to work through and actually give a shit about why they act the way they act. I’ve learned that the way people act is often drastically different than me assuming they may act because of certain variables. If you’re a guy reading this, 99% of the time you’re wrong. If you’re a girl reading this you’re probably wrong 98% of the time. The unspoken misunderstanding of a relationship is often what destroys something that was or could be pretty special. So speak the #@$! Up!
Too often we spend so much time thinking we know the answers to questions we never want to ask. It’s almost painful to recount that through your life. Or having the interest to ask your mother or father about how they felt when they had you. A question a child probably would never ask their parent, but thinking about that makes me want to ask my mother how she felt that day.
On Saturday I had some interesting conversation with MA. Lots of questions and answers and just plain laughs at the “show” that is our lives. I had a question for him that I knew the answer and it was evident. “Did it fail?” “Well, we’re no longer seeing those people, so you tell me?” A good laugh. A good laugh at failure, but not the failure to get through it by talking it over with a friend. Why didn’t it work out? Easy. It didn’t work out because it wasn’t supposed to work out. Can time change that? Maybe. Can people change that? Possibly. But time and people change and our lives change with them. What was once desirable becomes less impressive. What once went unnoticed and overlooked now becomes paramount and obvious. What is interesting is that nothing is failure that leads to grow and move on to a better life. It took me a while to realize that a few years ago. You can even laugh at memories that were once bad because well, you have to. I had to keep bringing something up to MA. I think my moral became “change the little things so the important thing can stay and grow”. I think I’m someone who can overlook or get past some of the little imperfections, but looking back, don’t you almost appreciate their abnormality?
I feel sorry for those people who don’t respect emotions. Most likely they don’t even respect their own.
Welcome to the show.
"The most important things to say are those which often I did not think necessary for me to say -- because they were too obvious." -André Gide
Friday, March 20, 2009
Anyhow. I’m sitting there and I wonder what this kid thinks when he sees all these “corporate” kids getting on the bus. All business-like and promoting a successful life of work, education, and burning the candle too brightly at both ends. I wonder, does he understand the freedom his life now includes and the freedom that he may not have in 5 to 10 years? I guess when I saw him I saw more freedom than what I see when I watch all of us go to work every day.
What he didn’t know is that I wanted to lean over and say, keep that style man. Just keep it. Don’t change and oh yeah….do whatever you love in life. Youth is such strength to me. It can change the course of your day in one instant. Maybe seeing your children, some kids playing, kids going to school, the kid on the bus, or a baby in a stroller. I sometimes throw myself into that ageless melee of playing on the playground between classes. Or standing on the deck at the local swimming pool. Going there so early that I’d wait outside for it to open and stay so long that my eyes gave way to the chlorine and had this psychedelic rainbow glaze on them. If you’ve ever swam for hours on end in a pool you know what I’m talking about. For all of those that haven’t, think about something you took between the ages of 16-30. Ha.
I always want to take that youth with me. Most of my cousins are grown, but I love seeing children of close friends and often time think of the day when I may have my own. I guess anyone who doesn’t will do that. My friend S often times sends me pictures of her newest. I nicknamed her Chubbsy cause her extra folds are just the cutest. I often times look at the pictures if I’m having a tough day, tough time, or going through some down times.
Back to this kid on the bus. Freedom of youth to be who you want to be should really be supported. I think to often kids today feel they have to conform in a retreat to not be picked on or criticized, but lets think. Does this ever change? I respect the people that can say, do wear, be, act the person they really are inside. I mean, maybe not everyone will love the person you truly are at heart. But at least you know who does like you for who you are and that lends itself to really creating an environment of calm freedom.
Don’t be afraid to show people who you are. Say what you need to say. It may feel better to get something out of your mind. It’s amazing how words can be just as liberating as visiting places in your mind or in the world that free you from prior constraints.
I know we can’t be the same people we were when we were young, but I’m thinking that while your body will change your mind can keep the spirit burning. Someone will appreciate that desire for individuality as we are separated by more than just DNA and color. I am excited about the next few days. I’m going to get the chance to learn more about people I care about and I hope they just want to tell me something that they’ve been wanting to say or just express. I will just listen.
I want to hear you again friends. It’s that time when you’re able to share without worrying what we’ll think. You are just as special as you think you are.
Boys are beyond the range of anybody's sure understanding, at least when they are between the ages of 18 months and 90 years. -James Thurber
Wednesday, March 18, 2009
It was good to see everyone around me taking in the weather. Going out, doing things, walking the city streets, enjoying the incoming green of spring, and enjoying a few pints in celebration of Saint Patrick’s Day. Always good to drink some green beer. Unfortunately, I think the top of my local pub (across the street from my apartment is local), must of popped off from too much testosterone and too much alcohol. I guess that’s par for the course. I don’t really miss that even thought I can’t always blame someone for getting all fired up. I don’t know why they may have done what they did. In any case the ruckus woke me up around 3:00am.
Every year around this time this weather seems to wipe away the past few months. For some maybe it’s a new start on the year. I know we all might say “oh, this is my year, right now, January first.” For me, I just “get through” January, February, and the Ides of March. When that weather breaks and that warmth of sun hits your face you enjoy that extra spring in your step or the slight cold you wake up with in the morning with the ray of sun coming through the top of your uncovered window. The sun, the sign that spring is on its way in. It’s also one of those moments that makes me look down at the ground and grin and shake my head.
I think of a few things around this time. For me, it was baseball practice inside the gym in high school. Weather finally would break and we’d go outside for practice. A little cold still, but no better time to smack the leather and throw the pill around a bit. Across the path we’d get to watch the girls practice softball. A little added bonus from going to a cramped public school I guess.
Being outside is so pure. Nothing can really impede what you have planned on a day where the elements are perfect. It’s a great experience to enjoy with someone or some family. I think too often we don’t enjoy what all nature has to offer. I guess I could say living in the city that I don’t, but I do take advantage of it. A run here. A bike ride there. A walk down to the water to watch some ducks do backflips. It’s all good.
What makes this time of year even better is that every day seems to be new. Even though your work may be constant, your mate may be the same (in a good way), your travels may be identical, and your routine may well be, routine. Every day you get another start. Another beginning to feeling great. Another face to smile at or for you to be smiled at. I’m excited to see some real smiles this Saturday as some good friends are coming up. The police officer, the principal, some randoms, LC, L, C, T, J, T. I don’t even know what to expect, but I’ve always had more of an interesting time with life that way…..
The unexpected has taught me so much more than what I knew was going to happen. I don’t regret not being prepared for the unexpected. I also don’t apologize for actions to the unexpected. When you are hit face on, you see it coming. When you are hit from the side, well, you never see it coming, but I digress……
I think we should be thankful for those people in our lives that deal with us at our highest as well as our lowest points. It speaks volumes of the people they are inside. They are there through thick and thin. I came back to help someone recently. I did it indirectly because I wanted them to know that while I’m not “there”, I’m always going to be “there”. It’s just the way it would be.
I know that we can sit here and pick apart these little peaks and valleys we have throughout our lives. Some people come and go throughout, but the sun always rises again. And a better day is left to live.
Keep your face to the sunshine and you cannot see the shadow. – Helen Keller
Thursday, March 12, 2009
My thoughts on today kind of revolve around failure. So often it seems that failure is viewed as such a bad thing. Whether it’s a job, a task, a good attempt, or a relationship; we tend to view failing at something as us being less than capable. I learned a few things the last few weeks. Failure is a part of our path toward success.
I can only say this for myself. I have learned so much more about myself through failing or stepping in the wrong spot than I’ve ever learned from doing well or succeeding. I think when you fail at something you tend to look closer at yourself. You look at the variables that caused said failure. Too often people blame themselves, but there are so many other factors that are involved. I can’t really go into all of them because they are different for everyone. Just don’t let anyone make you feel like you failed at something. It is okay to be a bit introspective and reminiscent about the occurrence just as long someone isn’t standing over you or face-up putting it in your face. Failure in private can sometimes be just as hurtful as public failure; but at least in privacy one has the chance to put closure to it.
For me people, man, I have failed publicly on numerous occasions. I’ve failed under huge, glaring stage lights. I’ve failed on the street. I’ve failed on the diamond and I’ve failed inside an 8x10 cell. I’ve failed myself when I said what I wanted and I’ve failed myself when I should of kept my mouth shut. In either case, what I pulled from the experience was more valuable than not going through it. I guess as human beings we have that pushover factor. Things can push in any direction, but pushed too far and one is apt to get closer to their breaking point and then…..fail.
These days it seems as though people are all over the internet, others may think they know so much more about you than there really is. I find it funny that people think so much of a profile, words on a screen, or the fact that you actually may believe something I type, post, link, share, or comment on. Is that me? Maybe. Maybe it was just me that day though. Maybe it was you in that moment. Maybe it was someone from that other side.
Failing is good for the soul. Our country has failed on occasions. I say occasions because one failure may be another’s success. I don’t want to go into the examples. But the lesson still holds true. We learn as we go. We’re always going to make mistakes. I just never want to live off mistakes. Do you? Myself and some of my closest friends made mistakes to cause us loss and deprivation of freedom. I would have to say that there is no worse loss than death than deprivation of freedom. I see the reason so many people come here. I know that’s pretty deep, but some know where I’m coming from.
I told my sister K last night that if she wants to get where she wants to be, she has to build on the failures and go up.
When I think about how this applies to relationships and marriage; well you just have to laugh, right? I mean, think about your batting average as it may correlate to marriage. I don’t want to write the equation, but you get my drift. You are going to fail at relationships. We all have. And we all will. What you may have liked at 21 may not be what you fancy at 31; and rightfully so. My only advice on that topic. Don’t fail yourself and don’t let someone change the idea of what “success” means to you. I think sometimes I lost what it meant. I think I lost what it was built off of. It’s not very hard. It’s actually kind of simple when broken down. Of course we’ve all failed some people in life. They can’t hold on to that and nor can you. It’s just the way it works.
“You build on failure. You use it as a stepping stone. Close the door on the past. You don't try to forget the mistakes, but you don't dwell on it. You don't let it have any of your energy, or any of your time, or any of your space.” – Johnny Cash
Friday, March 6, 2009
want a race?
Okay. So it’s Friday night. Go ahead say it, ‘what the hell, Bob? Why aren’t you at xyz club/bar/vfw/ymca raging? Ok. Fridays are laundry night if you must know. And that’s where it kind of started. Well, the end of laundry night.
People in this country bring up race so many times in conversation and what not. My brain exploded in a spectrum of thought when the black, heavy-set said to me as I boarded the bus home from the Laundromat. “What’s going on brother?”
Anyone that needs a lesson in diversity and race relations look no further than their closest metropolitan city. I got on the bus and once he said that to me, my mind kind spiraled on the word brother. I have come to use this word in so many situations with so many different people. My friend J. A great person and someone that shines in every aspect I’ve seen him. Basically working his ass off so everyone else can have a great time. A Filipino guy that I met a few years back and we just hit it off. He always refers to me as “bro”. I never really thought about it, but it just goes further then a word these days. My other friend M does the same thing. Also ironically Filipino. Always gracious and appreciative of the friends around him. It almost amazes me how much they both appreciate the good people around them. My friend R and J in Chicago. Two black guys who radiate the word cool and impressed me so much in the short time I got to spend with them. R radiates light from the inside. J, the Pretty Boy Floyd of the weekend just can impress with words and attitude. I clicked with both of these guys in a very short time while I was out in ChiTown visiting E.
I mean, this is what I’m talking about. You have to be the weakest and most unintelligent person on the planet to hate someone because of the color of their skin. Shit, I might hate what you have to say, but I can’t hate the color of your skin. I always was amused when I would talk with other white people about the area I was from. And they would say, that’s a pretty shitty area. I’m sitting here thinking, well, you’re hanging with me. So how shitty can it be? I never shied away from telling people exactly where I was from. I loved when people would refer to my high school in a derogatory way for the number of black kids that went there. Yes, I don’t call myself Irish-American, so I tend to not say African-American. Not one of my black friends will be offended because I probably know them just as well as their families do and some are closer to me than some of my family. Well, my next sentence would be so typical of the “white” kid at State University; “a lot of my best friends are black people”. I mean, it is that simple.
I guess this is where regret comes in. I regret not going over to their houses for holidays and having fun around their loved ones. People I grew up with from Kindergarten to senior year in high school played such a part in who I am that I am saddened that I didn’t get to be more involved in their lives. That’s the way it was though. My town and the town over were both 100% white and 100% black. You didn’t cross the line. It was that type of situation. I remember my friend R and a few others came to my neighborhood and they brought sticks with their bikes. When they rode down my street all my neighbors started looking out the windows. I mean, I was just that kind of guy. R is still one of my best friends to this day even though we seldom see each other.
I saw a really close friend and teammate from high school at a reunion. He had a real rough time after high school. Going through addiction and ending up in places that we cant hardly imagine much less speak of. I had heard stories. Writing this gives me chills. But when I saw my backfield buddy D, I saw his eyes nearly well up and produce a tear. A brief embrace so none of the ladies would see the football guys getting all soft and a whisper in my ear and words that were a surprise to me.
“B, I missed ya man. I got real lost and when I was at my worst I used to think about how much fun we used to have at practice and remembered how fcuking cool you were man. I missed you…”
D now lives up near the Bronx. That night he said that made me feel like the moments were worth it. Those horrible days we had at practice didn’t make us all-stars, but taught us what we needed to be resilient against life’s worst demons. What he doesn’t know is that I needed that just as bad he did. Do you know what it means when a man can be totally honest with another man about how he feels? It’s called growing up and becoming the man you want to become.
See, my parents will say we had it good growing up. I mean, it was okay. They did the best we could. But I wouldn’t change a thing. I saw kids with nothing in my classrooms. I had nice clothes, new sneakers, but when I think now, I was in their class because we lived close by each other. We were in the same county, town, zip code. We weren’t that different. I knew kids that were on welfare and got the free lunches. I mean, I always got a few bucks for lunch, but the mysterious orange cheese in my fridge didn’t click until years down the road. You can strive your whole adult life trying to keep up with the Joneses, but when you’re 8, 9, 10, 11, and realize that you and you friends are in the same situation, you almost feel like you’re a part of something…..even if it is a little bit of poverty.
I’m not saying I was starving. We ate Real Good Bread. No lie, it was called that. Occasionally a loaf of stroheman would pop in there.
Many people don’t really know much about what makes me the person I am now. I think that from some of those childhood experiences, I can adapt to a lot of different situations. One time, at school, I was really faced with a situation I wasn’t sure I could even handle. Maybe you can picture it. Basically all white party at a house. A lot of kids from Philly and State U-D County. Lots of friends. Lots of guys. Lots of girls. So a friend from my childhood showed up. My friend B was black. Friend that came back into my life after I had met him down the Southwest part of the city. A great kid and guy all around. Just the kind of guy you want to be friends with. I think where he might be right now. So B is at the party. Some of these kids. Somewhere from the Northeast part of the city. I didn’t know them. I didn’t know many Catholic school kids. No love. No hate. Reallly nothing big to me. I was a public school. We’re all college kids. Well, B is there having beer with all of us. One of the kids confronts B. Says something and then says something else. I heard the something else. The white guy with the Jeff cap said “why don’t you pick up my trash you ****** from southwest philly….” Well, B was my friend years before these clowns. What is scary about this is that we were outnumbered. I sided with B of course. My boy. So its black and white versus all white. Thinking about it now, kind of a tense movie scene. Well, we’re all standing there and somehow a knife comes up right into the mix. Like slow motion it happens. Usually I would never grab a weapon from anyone, but for some reason as it came into play, I reach my hands out and caught it on the flat sides and just pulled it down. For the life of me I cant remember if B or the other guy pulled it. B was a very friendly person. He was taught not to hate anyone regardless of their big Italian nose, Irish wit, Jewish nose, or black attitude. He fit in so well, all you ever noticed was the smile. We were all so young, but I had been through my class in race relations about 10 years earlier than the masses of WASPS at State University. I knew what to do. Tears welling up in B’s eyes. Frustration in his voice. Hurt in his face. A cracking in his attempt to get the words out. Bobby, I’m gonna…..And with that, I said to the crowd watching, we’re leaving. One tough guy still wanted to say something…..I said, “well, you want to beat up the black guy…you might as well beat my ass as well, but I’ll take my chances and bet on me.” Always good with a cocky comment because I had good people on my side, we walked out of there. I had my arm over his shoulder. I was proud that we walked out of there together.
I’m not saying I know all kinds of stuff about race and stuff. I guess if you’re not exposed to the great ways that people of different races and creeds can educate us, than I feel sorry for you. I loved for two years that I was called white boy by over 200 blacks, Puerto-ricans, and whites while I worked at UPS. To this day, it was the best job I ever had. At 8.50 an hour. I miss all those guys. I remember now walking into a Super Bowl Party. I was the only white guy invited. I walked in and smelled smoke and wing sauce and then my buddy Kwan goes, “white boy…..we didn’t lay bets on the game…we laid bets that you wouldn’t show up in G-Town at this house at night…..” I said, “dog, you know how I roll….!”
I also remember kids from college learning the area I was from. And my friend J aka Big Meat saying that he didn’t think my area was really that tough. Like, what was so tough about about 5-10 miles away from where he grew up. I mean, my nickname in college was GB aka Gangsta Bob. Someone actually referred to me as that last week. Anyhow, my friend J asked me about living where I grew up. While I never thought about this day, it did happen. My friend S picked me up one day in his Cavalier. When I got in, there was a Glock 9mm handgun in the passenger side. We drove around and he said to load the gun. The thought at that point in my life was like putting my pants on, it kind of came naturally. No questions. No rationalizations. Just did it. Loaded. In my hand. Drive past a few places and just held it. Now, nothing happened, but looking back, being that close to a potentially very bad situation is all but surreal to me. It’s one of life’s, I was there and it could have been worse days. S turned out to be a police officer. I turned out to be, well, me. I’m not one for guns or violence, but in my younger years, you would find me around every haggle and donnybrook there ever was. Hey, donnybrook is an actual word. Way to go. Mom and Dad would be totally perplexed at learning this, but again, my friends have suffered much worse and we’ve been collectively through it. If I wasn’t there when they did, I was there after and have gone through my own trials.
This is such a long blog. I guess these things are supposed to be short. I just find it funny that some people share interracial jokes in their families. I mean, I’ve heard them all. From my grandfather to the grandfathers of other races. Yeah we smell like wet dogs when it rains! Ha.
Back to my bus driver. I wish I got his name tonight. It was me, him and a woman who had to be at least 200 years old. She was sleeping on the bus and we woke her up. She had no idea where she was. She got off the bus. He said to me, “Man, I mean, I feel like our job as human beings is to stand up for people that can’t stand up for themselves. I mean, what can we say for ourselves if we can’t help people?” I had no answer. I said, “Man, you’re right.” All that from one night.
So yeah, that’s what I had to say tonight. I miss all my friends. All of them. We never get enough time to sit in that time that can teach us so much more than we think it can. For all the differences we have, we are so very similar to everyone else. I wish there was so much more time to know so much more about the people that came and went in my life/but maybe my life is too different for them to know.
If you ever get the chance you should watch a move called “They call me Mr. Tibbs” with Sidney Portier. An absolute lesson in race, the South, the right, the wrong, and how it all goes down.
My thought for tonight. I know we have our ideas. I know we have our pre-conceived notions. I know you’re not always gonna welcome whitey in your house. I know you don’t want to seem too nice. All I’m saying is please listen. Listen to what people have to say. They will really impress you. Everyone.
These words came to me tonight and I had to write. It took over the night. Of course I bought a 40 to keep it real, but I mean, I would of bought that anyhow. Ha. I guess I miss my friends. I miss the friends that I spent the most time with that were different than me, but more brothers and sisters than I was ever born with. GJ, ZR, JM, , J, DS, A, L, LJ, KB, TB, DT, N, JP, BS, JW, RB, LB, JT, RK, RM, LW, RB.
I am a big believer that the sum is greater than it parts. Man, that doesn’t speak more loudly than in a group of kids from a bunch a different backgrounds so confused about life that they only care about making it. And I think we made it….I think we made it from that playground.
You gotta love livin', baby, 'cause dyin' is a pain in the ass. - Frank Sinatra
Wednesday, March 4, 2009
I mean, I know we all say we’re fine and we’re great, but it is a good feeling when someone wants you around or wants you to experience a little piece of life with them. I’ve been doing a little bit of that the past few months. Different people. Different experiences. Different places. All so fun. All so interesting. Most taught me more about myself than I did them. I guess all our lifes’ experiences can’t always be positive, so maybe I try to use the not-so-positive experiences as lessons learned. Man, that sounds so damn corporate as I sit here in my 8x5, three sided, semi-professional cubicle with a scenic & panoramic view of the Greater Philadelphia area. Anyhow, I am so hard on myself for making the same mistake twice. Unfortunately, if you know me, I’ve made the same mistakes twice and sometimes more than twice.
What I find interesting about making mistakes is even when you know it’s a mistake you can still feel good about making it? You picking up what I’m putting down here people? Are we like animals? Well, we are mammals. Why do we make the same mistakes twice? Do we think that if the circumstances are exactly the same the result will ever be different? Will that trap never fall down over top of us as we go for the bait inside? Will the door behind us never slam shut when we’re lured into that dark room of the unknown? Will you be suckered once again to biggie size your fries when you know the value meal has enough to make you full?
My point is, is it healthy to subject yourself to this type of thing? I mean, it can’t be, right? I think we tend to make so many things in life so much more confusing and convoluted. I think we look away from the most obvious of solutions. The Theory of Occam’s Razor comes to mind. Of two equivalent theories or explanations, all other things being equal, the simplest one is to be preferred. If you smell a rat, it’s usually not a flower. What is a frog is a frog and not a prince. If she acts like an animal, she may just treat you like one. I have a lot of worthless analogous examples. Many may not be right, but I’m getting better at spotting a wolf in sheep’s clothing these days.
I don’t want you to go making another mistake. But more than that, I feel a lot better knowing that I don’t make any more mistakes. No one makes good mistakes these days.
“We've all heard that we have to learn from our mistakes, but I think it's more important to learn from successes. If you learn only from your mistakes, you are inclined to learn only errors.” -Norman Vincent Peale
Monday, March 2, 2009
I think we always like to be the first to make our mark in the snow. Sometimes the snow stops and what you did is left for everyone to see. Sometimes, like the tide to sand, the snow keeps falling and you are left to rewrite your creations.
"When I no longer thrill to the first snow of the season, I'll know I'm growing old." - Lady Bird Johnson
Rattle & Hum
I figure that some people enjoy going through some drama every now and again. I don’t really think it’s all that healthy to be all pent up and anxious about negative things. That nervousness you get about seeing someone you’re not on good terms with. That job interview you have coming up. That review that you’re scheduled to go through with your boss. That tough conversation you may have to have with a significant other that things just aren’t going to work out you or they may want and seeing that look on their face that you just didn’t think would hurt you as much as it may have.
I don’t know. I know we all have those moments. Sometimes there’s usually some time in between peaks and valleys of life. As I’ve aged I’ve noticed that I mentally laugh at these situations. Well, not the break-up type situations. But seriously. When I think about some of the situations that I was so intense and emotional about actually make me laugh because I’m like. Wow B, you really took that to another level. You were really involved in that situation. It’s funny. If you speak about something with someone enough, they may think you are so much more involved than you yourself even are. You just want something to talk about at the time. I know this because when I’m going through anything, it all stops around Friday evening. It all stops when the sun goes down and night is once again upon us. And it doesn’t really matter what I’m doing. Man, I just know that life is so tough, even tougher with everything going on in the world right now. Put your problems in perspective. I know. I know. I can’t step into your shoes and really don’t know you and how you feel. But know this. I’ve stepped in a lot of shoes. Some you may not be aware of, but damned if those shoes don’t give me the platform (no pun intended) to speak on everything from a grandmother dying of cancer to how much I enjoyed taking care of my three youngest sisters every night between the ages of 13 to 16. L was too mature and learning about make-up and hair spray and boys by that time. While that was a very stressful time in my life; I also think it was one of the best. I think those childcare and parenting skills will some day come into play. Someday.
I guess what I’m saying is turn that stress into power. Say to yourself that I or we can beat this. We can win. We can overcome. I think way too many times we go with the beat of a drum that’s been beaten in life for the last two or ten centuries. I don’t have this or that, so let me just settle. I’ll never get this job or that job, so oh woe is me. I’ll never get a date with Jennifer Aniston because John Mayer has better hair than I do. Watch out John, I play a mean triangle!
Then there are those times when you need to look inside yourself to overcome something difficult in your life. I never have a measuring stick for the severity of a person’s own dilemmas, so I try to not minimize them and say something like, “oh, you think you have it bad?” I can’t say that I’ve had to have a little pep talk with myself in some time. Probably not since June and that was mentally incarcerating. I find that the sooner you deal with a problem the sooner it will dissolve into the fabric of your past.
I can’t tell if what I deal with are recurring problems, but a few do happen often these days. I take them with a grain of salt and try not to let too many people who are close to me know that I am sweating. Not that there’s anything wrong with acknowledging the stress of a situation, but I feel, like the media, the more people you tell the more stress you are asking for. Only a few people know my dilemmas. I’m pretty sure I’m one of the few that know there problems as well. I like to keep it that way. A few close buddies.
Anyhow, enough of that. It’s Friday and getting close to quitting time. Today was rough. I can handle rough Mondays, but rough Fridays just put a bad spin on the weekend. Especially when you have no control over it.
I wrote this Sunday and now there is about 5 inches of snow on the ground. I wish I was 12 again.
Wednesday, February 25, 2009
I am trying to search for the right answer in a very difficult and intense situation. Call me what you will, but I guess when I see something good I go after it. The thing is, I may go after it blindly and without consideration for the situation or people involved. I just think if you can say what’s on your mind and in your heart you are being true to yourself and the situation and if a person can’t respect that; then I guess there’s nothing to be said for the person.
At the time I find myself torn between going after something I want and being content in the safety of not taking a chance to open a can of worms. Anyone ever feel like this? Feel like you’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t? I know it’s not just me. The principal always has some good advice. I mean, that’s what principals are supposed to do for kids. I guess I’m still a kid in some ways, but I like that. I like that I take people for what they show me and don’t dig deeper into their heads for some reason why I should doubt them. No one likes to be made a fool and consequences of playing around with a person’s emotions can vary. Since I finally grew up at the ripe age of like 29, I’ve learned that being angry and mean to someone will get you no where in life. Every situation can be handled in a way that both people can feel comfortable about saying what they want to say.
I sometimes cringe at the echoes of yells that sometimes occurred while I was growing up. Wondering if someone would hear and come and help out since I was too young to do anything. Wondering if this was the way “adults” sorted things out. I know we’ve all been involved in these types of situations as children, adolescents, or adults. It’s never a good thing. Nowadays when I feel a situation going towards that direction, I start to be quiet. I just tend to look away or think of something that emits serenity in life like the ocean, the beach, or an empty city sidewalk. I just don’t have much respect for people who yell just to hear their words over top of others. The most pertinent words will do damage regardless if they’re loud or silent.
After some thought about recent events, I wanted to make a decision to bail on the whole ordeal. It’s causing me to stress about stuff that is way out of my control. I really don’t want to control anything. I just want to have a chance for things to be right. And I guess that’s where the missing variable is in this equation. The “right thing to do” may be two different things to two different people at this point. In any case, I don’t bode well to dishonesty and beating around the bush and I’m not going to start.
I could sit here and say that age, experience and wisdom can have something to do with being indecisive, but I’m just too smart for that. I think many of the same thoughts I did all along life. My actions may not have always followed, but in the end, being true to yourself and the people or person you care about can take you safely down a many a road in life.
"Life's rewards go to those who let their actions rise above their excuse"- Lee J. Colan
Monday, February 23, 2009
One female character said to a male character that he had spent so much time being single that he forgot what it was like to want to love someone, but that she was a lot closer to finding someone than he was.
In another part of the movie, a character said he couldn’t be remotely close to happy if you (his girlfriend/fiancée) aren’t happy.
I can agree with both statements. People don’t realize how truly happy they can be when they’re involved in something that is so pure, so innocent, so positive and so exciting. Trusting someone with your feelings is never easy to do. As humans, we seem to want control over everything. I think feelings are something that we can easily lose control over when we let them get in the wrong hands. When I say wrong hands, I have to explain. I know everyone thinks that the people that we think my care the most about us have good intentions; it’s not always the case. What I say is that you get back what you put in.
This past weekend I through the rules out the window. When convention may have told me that what I was doing was wrong, I still did what I wanted. I even had a hard time getting in the cab and telling him where to drive. I was nervous walking into the bar, but it was one of those times where I knew what I wanted to do and I didn’t care about crossing over the right-wrong lines. I didn’t break any laws. And I didn’t damage any property. But I took a chance and I turned out to get exactly what I wanted out of the night. And that’s not always the way I choose to live. I usually respect a situation or what people tell me, but sometimes you just get tired of putting your happiness in the back seat for the sake of not stirring the pot. I may not go after something I want. I may wait for things to develop, but on this night, I just felt like I didn’t have time to waste pondering about what if’s? What if’s will never be answered if you do absolutely nothing.
Could I be any more vague about what happened? I guess I’m respecting a person’s privacy, so think what you will.
My point here goes back to a line in the movie. The general mantra of the movie’s main character. If someone wants to see you, they will make an effort to see you. If someone wants to be with you, they will do whatever it takes to be next to you. Get my point? I recently heard a story of some guy that blew some girl off to do his taxes. That could have been the worst excuse regardless if it was a lie or the truth. Taxes man? Come on now. Take the girl out!
I don’t know. I guess people could say that I think we have all the time in the world. I don’t think that which is exactly why I took fate into my own hands and changed what was going to happen. It’s ironic….we will go after careers we want. We will go after material items we want. We will go after that new look we want. We will go after that new scene we’re looking for. So what the hell? I guess sometimes the rules out the window and go after that thing that makes you smile.
Whether things turn out the way you want in life, it’s really great to live in a good moment. If you’re alone or with someone, it can still be something to cherish.
"Destiny is not a matter of chance, it is a matter of choice; it is not a thing to be waited for, it is a thing to be achieved." -William Jennings Bryan
Friday, February 20, 2009
I love to listen to people talk about their lives. Some people love life so much it runs into the color of your own life. We have so many social mediums to use these days. Myspace, Facebook, Twitter, phones, cell, texting. I mean, we all seem to want to show people our lives and want them to be a part of every scene. I relish that. I enjoyed it a lot last week when my friend D made it a point to not just settle for what he was doing that night. He had said he was going to come down to my part of town, but well, things changed. D has a daughter so I give him so much more lee-way because I really respect him as a father because I am not there yet. To be the person he is and live the way he does, he really has no time to himself and his thoughts. As where I, well, maybe I do have time on my hands even if I don’t wear a watch. So D said he was coming down and had to wait for a babysitter or something like that. I was in the city, so I took the train back into my neighborhood, stopped at home for a second, and then met him and his new ladyfriend down at a place called Tonic. Just some drinks and some good chat. But see, this is where the human part comes in. You know how you know people enjoy your company? Simple. They smile when they greet you and most likely give you a hug. D is a good friend and we’ve shared a number of good times together. But he never shirks his extroverted greeting to his friends. And when I enter the place and see my buddy D, we own it. We’re loud. We’re obnoxious. We’re even white trash. I often refer to my real close friends that I came up with as. I mean, we’re all lower than some socioeconomic class above us right? Lower-lower, middle-lower, upper-lower, lower-middle, middle-middle, upper-middle…you see where I’m going. So we greet, share a brief man-bear-hug and just say, “what’s up?” As is customary with D, I get the, “Yo B, this is insert first name here. Isn’t she a great girl?” Yeah D, she’s diamonds man. And with that we enjoy some laughs, some drinks, some stories, and the occasional “hun, how ya doing? Can I make you breakfast tomorrow morning?” We are always joking. On this nite, D’s company fit in very nicely. I think she was shocked by D’s comments and the fact that I could care less what I was wearing much less saying that night. It was all good.
I left D and his ladyfriend when they went to drive home. Ended up being that battery was dead and the car wouldn’t start. I consider this a very clear sign that D was not meant to drive home that night and I’m happy he didn’t. I’ve lost enough in life, but losing friends is not something I am ready to deal with in this part of my life.
All I can say is that I hope everyone gets to enjoy friendships like the one above. So much time is lost on trivial things these days that I don’t think we get enough time with our friends. I wish nites like last weekend would last forever, but the bar does have to close and we all have to go home.
In the next few weeks and months, take a few minutes and stop and look around when you’re out with friends. Notice the colors of the walls, the looks on people’s faces, the taste of the air and the smells around you. Listen to the lyrics in the music a little closer. Talk to that girl or guy a little bit longer. Find out one more thing about them that they just want to tell you.
I’ve been lucky with friends. Most of them have always supported me and been there when I need them most. I am so very thankful for that. Enjoy your friends. Enjoy life.
"We live for the nights we'll never remember with the people we'll never forget." – Daryll Slaughter
Thursday, February 19, 2009
How, in this day and age, do guys, any guys, get away with treating women like shit? I just don’t understand it. What makes me more confused is that to some sick individuals this seems like a healthy way of maintaining a relationship. The give & take, the back & forth, the yin & yang. The constant wavering of emotions that go up and down with the rising and setting of the sun. I know, I know some of you will say, “oh, that’s part of every relationship…..” Man, some of the stuff I’ve heard the past few years would make a normal guy cringe. I can say that while I was in school it was okay to have a little, okay, I was knee-deep in it 24-7, but I can blame my womanizing & selfish ways. Ahhh. College was a really special time. Ha. You know the deal. Anyhow, I just don’t get with all these people in the world girls stress about one specific guy. I almost KO’d my sister when she called me crying about some local clown who just set her up to look stupid. I put it as plain as I could. Get away from him. He’s a clown. He’ll make you look bad once, he’ll definitely do it again.
Don’t think you ladies are getting off scott-free, but it is quite not at the level that some guys try to go to. I guess I can say that’s a good thing or we’d have a lot of teary-eyed bellyachers lining the streets of my city looking for reasons why Sally ran off or no longer says “I love you” before she goes to bed. I know women sometimes like to play that dominant player role, but I think they’re fooling themselves. I had a conversation with LC just the other night. I said that most girls do want to get married at some point. For guys, some of them would have no problem aging on a barstool that was in the middle of passing women like cattle do at an auction. I know this because rarely will you see so many older, lonely women as you do men at a bar or venue. Now, I don’t know if these guys are happy, but that’s their business.
My concern is that I sometimes think, and this goes for people as close as family members, that some women would rather be in something that sucks than be alone. Is this really true? I know over time that some girls start to get it and get out of that rut, but man, it seems to take years and lifetimes and the next time you see them they’re a different person.
Someone recently said to me that they were surprised I wasn’t married yet. I don’t really see this being a big surprise, but maybe that’s because I know the person I am. Had I gotten married to one of the two girls I’ve been involved with the last decade; I know neither of us would have been happy with life. They spared me and I spared them. My response to the person who said they were surprised was that I am intensely picky about spending lots of time with someone. It’s not that I pick apart someone’s personality, but well, you gotta have the qualities I look for. I think we all search for that in a mate, but on the flip side, I find it totally knee-buckling when someone I wouldn’t be attracted to attracts me to them. Maybe that’s what you found in your current relationship. The Yin to your Yang. Or the Moe to your Curly. Wait, were Moe, Larry & Curly? No wayyyyyyy.
Anyhow, Spring is coming towards us. Put away the sweaters and overcoats and layers. Undress a little more when you head out to the bar. A little bit more life in the air with the leaves and trees in the Northeast starting to come back out of their winter thaw. I always joke around with my friend LC when the weather starts getting warm. It’s like the b right of spring mantra. Single or in a relationship I say the same thing. It might sound a bit immature to some of you, but you know I don’t really care. I say, “L, it’s getting warmer out! And you know what that means??!!! People are wearing less clothing…” Now that might come off as sounding like everyone should running around jumping people, but all I’m saying is when it starts to get warmer you just seem to feel more alive and willing.
And as I am writing this an article popped up on Yahoo! It said “Indian Woman gets married for the 23rd time….” She said “It gets lonely….” I mean, she’s 68, so what, she was married once every two years? I guess when she invited men in to see her place they’d see shoes, some belts, and wedding dress hanging up on the door. Ya know…just in case.
It's a helluva start, being able to recognize what makes you happy.
Wednesday, February 18, 2009
table for one please
I was just telling the principal that I think he’s working too hard these days. We all need a break now and then. Some people more than others. I mean, the guy has been going at it for a few months (I can’t be too easy on him since these educators of youth have summers off); but just the same. We all need to realize when we need to just go outside, sit on the steps and look out to the world (or as far as your eyes can see). I used to do that back in the old neighborhood. Just go outside of house and watch the cars pass on a crisp winter day. It’s cold, but it’s that good cold like you breathe in at the top of a mountain you’re about to ski down. Deep breath in, deep breath out. It can help freeze your brain kinda like when you eat a slurpy too fast (I’ve never actually had a slurpy, so substitute anything that gives you “brain freeze”). Anyhow, these past few months have also been busy for me, but I’ve always tried to view work as more of a challenge than a battle. I said to my grandfather last night, there’s two types of stress. Toxic stress and good stress. I know that may sound weird to some, so maybe I’ll explain…
Toxic stress is that crap you deal with when you have to hear some bellyache about how crappy their boyfriend or girlfriend is to them. Or when you have to stand in line to pay a ticket and some character in front of you just wants to tell the lady at the window his theories on why the world is unfair to him. Toxic stress is when family wants too much of your time and gives you reasons why they deserve this time.
Good stress is working your ass off and meeting that deadline. Good stress is trying to rush home to get flowers, bake a cake, light candles, and wrap a present before your significant other gets home on their birthday. Good stress is the beginning of a game and the end of the game. Win or Lose. I still get that feeling before the game. Go BOG in 2009. Good stress is doing whatever it takes to make it happen. I say make it happen because I really don’t know all of you that well at the current time. Some I saw last night. Some I haven’t seen since 1990. And some of you have passed away.
So you get my drift. Stop and think before you start passing toxic stress. I mean, we’re all guilty of it. I get caught up in the moment and let my emotions get the best of me sometimes, but I mean, we’re human. I admire the police officer for the way he is 99% of the time. With everything he’s been through in life, his demeanor remains the same. Cool & collected like Cool Hand Luke. He saved me and my mouth numerous times over the years, but without my mouth we’d never have gotten so much attention, right man?
We can all handle the good stress as long as it comes in bits and pieces and not every day. Life is tough enough.
I know some people, ha, all people like to blow off steam at the end of the week. I know we all do that in a number of ways and means. Whatever you fancy is cool with me. Just hold on to the rails as you go on that ride and follow these few simple words….
WATCH THE TRAM CAR PLEASE….A little humor for my Jersey Shore folks. Is it summer yet?
If you think you’re under pressure, you’re probably not, because when you really are, you don’t even have time to think about
-Ron de Jonge
Monday, February 16, 2009
I guess the one thing that I realized after all the things that happened this weekend is the importance of a moment. I used to be a person who would just not talk about the way I felt. Even more so, the way I felt about anyone in my life. I guess as we get older, we realize that the great people around us are not always going to be around. Man, that makes me wish I had one more day to see my grandmother and tell her how special and great I really thought she was before she passed in 2001. It all happens so fast. In the blink of an eye someone special to you is gone from your life. Like passing traffic on the highway, we just see a blur and keep on driving.
The people I spoke to this weekend told me some things that I was not really aware of. One person told me what I really meant to them. Another told me that I was great. Another told me that they missed me in recent days. I spent Saturday night on the couch directly across from my best friend. My grandfather. I went out Friday night and did enough and just wanted to relax and talk. I guess some guys on here would think, “wtf?”, I’d rather be with some hot chic, out in the city, and having a blast. Well, I guess I really could have been out doing that, but I didn’t feel well and chose to spend some time with a person who is special to me. As I was doing this I was getting a lot of messages about things from the past. I guess even though myself and these people have gone our separate ways, I made an impression on their life.
In one situation the person told me that I had no idea how much I meant to them while we were seeing each other a few years ago. This really caught me off guard as I kind of thought it was just a fun summer thing. But that is my point, maybe there was so much more to be said that was never said. So much more to share that was not shared. I mean, I was honest and said that she would of made a great girlfriend or future wife, but at the time I didn’t think that far down the road. Nevertheless, I tried to turn a conversation positive and became selfless. I said that had she stayed with me she may have never met the wonderful guy she is now in a relationship with. While I bite my tongue and said that, I had to be honest about the way things had turned out. Since that time we’ve always been friends behind the scene and it almost makes me laugh that people think we have nothing in common. But we do. I don’t really consider that I was a sacrificial lamb, but rather a guy who wasn’t in a position to be in a relationship that summer.
It’s strange how we meet people throughout life. Every person I have ever come into personal contact with has had an effect on the person I am. Some I hold on to. Some I keep around. Some I let go and find their way in life and some I just keep a distant memory. Do you believe that people in life are only supposed to be around for a specific time in your life? I really don’t know the answer to that question….
What stumps me more is when people move on and still think about their time with you days, months, years, and decades down the road. Almost makes you think, did I make the right choices or did this play out exactly how it was supposed to?
With all this being said please take just a few minutes to tell the people you care about most how you feel about them. I think about the poor families who had to deal with losing a loved one in recent weeks from the flight that crashed near Buffalo. I just get chills thinking of the final seconds of their lives and what goes through a person’s mind at that time. I really just can’t even fathom it.
A lot is going on in our lives right now and people that you think know you love them may not be so aware. Or that person who you think understands how much you mean to them may just think you’re a flash in the pan of their life. Even more so, your guy & girl friends may just want to hear your voice on the line and want you to ask them how their day was today. I always think I talk to much, but people have told me I am also a really good listener. Listen to your friends, your family, your co-workers, and even your lost friends. They might just have something to say that inspires you to say something you’ve been holding off on saying.
We had some good talks this weekend folks. It brings to mind a lyric from a favorite group of mine that sums up a lot of what I think about relationships past and present….
“In silence we still talk.” Alien by Bush.
Friday, February 13, 2009
I miss the days of college when me, the principal, the police officer, and the slob would ham it up for hours in 620, my apartment. Maybe you’re like me and you always smile when you think back to your college days or days you spent living in some random city with new and exciting friends. All that innocence and chaos thrown into a place that you started to call your home away from home.
So yeah, it’s Friday and yes, I want to see what people are up to. I like meeting new people just as much as I like spending time with people in my life. It’s amazing what you find out about yourself when other people tell you what they think about you. Even if it’s not always good, it gives you a chance to grow as a person and develop into a more well-rounded person. Me and my sister L always butted heads when we get on the topic of what we think about each other. I guess that’s why I love her and admire her to no end. She’s never been afraid to tell me that she didn’t like this or that about me. And I think people these days hold back on telling the people they care about what they think about them. I guess it’s one of those things like damned if you do, damned if you don’t. I know L loves to speak her mind and I know she says it with care. I mean, I would have to believe that anyone who lived with 4 sisters in one room knows how to compromise, so maybe it’s not her, it’s the people around her who can’t compromise.
We’ve all had to compromise things in our lives, but I guess none of us want to compromise in a way that we know is basically against social norms or basic rules of society. We’re all bound to some loyalty to the ethics or morals or lack there of that we’ve grown accustomed to, right?
Someone recently made the statement “well, yeah, I wonder if you’re ever going to grow up?” I didn’t take offense to it because the person said it in a way that was both thought-provoking and endearing at the same time. My question back to her was “does being married and having children qualify me as growing up?” She kind of stared at me and said, “well, not really”. The point of those sentences is that while we could all easily have settled down with anyone, none of us wants to compromise our expectations on what we see as an ideal partner. And I think that’s great. I have four younger sisters and I always tell them that they deserve the best. And really, every girl does. I’d say the same for the guys, but well, being a guy, I’d say that some of us don’t deserve to be walking around with princesses on our arms.
I guess people will say that a person like me never wants to settle, but they’re wrong. I want to settle for the happiest I could possibly be. I don’t see anything wrong with that. I said to my friend LC last night. The games have changed, so you gotta change your playbook up. I then brought up S’s blog and said see what this girl says? She appreciate the speed at which dating progresses these days. And I said to LC, you can either be quickly in love with someone or quickly not in love with someone. Either way, its gonna keep moving. Just keep up and you’ll be fine.
You’ve heard of the term keeping up with the Joneses. Well, in relationships, you don’t have to keep up with anyone. Just follow your heart and you’ll be fine. If someone makes you feel good about yourself keep going back to that. If someone doesn’t make you feel good go away from that. I know it sounds so simple and I know that it’s not that easy, but you get the idea.
I’m feeling good about this weekend…..see you out in the city.
Thursday, February 12, 2009
So I went to the game with A. Great time, good drinks, better food; and good stories about occurrences in the last few months. We just had some good laughs. And heard a song with eloquent lyrics. She got her own car, she pay her own bills, she got her own money. Or something like that. I’m real proud that someone is making millions off of lyrics a pre-schooler could write. I knew I should have been a rapper. Southeast Delco is very similar to Compton, California.
Anyhow, I always get a good laugh when people get amused at my stories or say “only you would say something like that”. I said to A that he’s quick, but then he came back with, yeah man, but not that quick. But I digress, timing is not always everything in life. I always say I look at moments in a few ways. Great opportunity, questionable participants. Questionable opportunity, great participants. Great participants, great opportunity. You can play that any way you like. I’m not always referring to things between a guy and a girl. I also think of that kind of thing that a bad situation can be valued if you go through it with great people. Of course the ideal situation would be to go through something great with great people or a great person.
I was going to get into some deep stuff today, but it’s been one of those weeks. Lots on my mind and even more to think about. Ever have those weeks where you wish every day was Friday? People are gonna probably say “B, you wish your whole life was a Friday night?” Yeah, who the hell doesn’t? I don’t find pure enjoyment over waking up on weekdays, but the Man says he won’t give me money unless I wake up and do his biddings.
Well it’s almost Friday and I am actually interested in what all of you are up to this weekend. Will you be spending some down time with a loved one on Valentine’s Day? Will you be pining for love lost and the gifts you used to get when you were together? Will you be Cupid’s enemy and spend it at a bar or club with other singles saying “I hate Valentine’s Day” in the same breath saying “I wish I was with him or her…or at least not alone.” I guess it’s all relative, but depending on where I’m at on Saturday I’ll still be smiling. I guess I’m single, but I’ve never really landed on that word for referring to myself. Insert foot in mouth for anyone who knows me 5 plus years.
I don’t mean to make you sad or upset, but I have to say this. See, what I think about when I write the word single is that you are physically single and not with anyone. I never really think that way. Someone is always on my mind or inside of my heart in some way. Like my friend M says, “spread love, shine on”. I believe that. I believe the love you share is the love you get in return. On a less than positive note, I know there are people out there who are in something they’d rather not be a part of and they are the loneliest people out there because they’re too afraid to stand on two feet and search for the love they deserve. Someone close to me comes to mind. And it’s been hard to watch over the years.
I guess the only thing I can do is keep my heart open that she’ll find a person that loves her for the great person she is. I’m happy I came to that point in my life where I don’t have to be second best in anything in life. Standing in a line at a club is okay. Standing in line waiting for someone to love you the way you want is downright painful. Someone once said to me “You’re always searching for greener grass.” What she didn’t know was that I was searching for greener grass, but I wanted to lay on the grass with her. I was never one to be preoccupied with having someone else when I was with someone, but rather having the greatest time with the person I was with at that time. I value each relationship I’ve ever been in and funny as it may seem, they’ll pop in and out of my head on Valentines Day. If you’ve ever been in a serious relationship around Valentines Day (interjection, I guess I don’t know if everyone quantifies “serious relations” by days, weeks, months or years), then you’ve done something around Valentine’s Day. Even if it was just a nice card, some flowers, or for J the Inn of the Dove in Harrisburg. ha. Love ya Cousin Jas.
I hope all of you are happy doing whatever you do. By yourself, with your special someone, or the someone you find for a few hours of bliss. Come on now, I have to admit the obvious. Watch the drunk dialing of all ex’s. Refrain from calling the girl from the club/bar/bus stop 30 minutes after you get her number. If you’re not sure what to get her…..chances are you don’t even really know her that well.
"We all suffer from the preoccupation that there exists ... in the loved one, perfection."