Sunday, January 29, 2012

The Adventures Of...

Now I’m far from old but I do definitely notice the difference in how children come up now from when I was young. Kids now have everything; flat screen televisions, cell phones, video games and computers all by the age of 10. I remember being ecstatic when my brother and I got an old 13 inch black & white tv for our room. We had to change the stations with a pair of pliers and used a coat hanger for the antennae, and it only picked up 4 channels…and we were happy.

We found non-technological ways to entertain ourselves. My brother was a natural athlete so he played a lot of sports. I found myself more the drawing, trading cards, comic book kind of kid. Funny, I learned so much about life in between colorful, cape clad heroes saving the Earth. Really, I learned about having integrity, trying to do the right thing, overcoming adversity and especially being responsible.

One lesson I learned as a child that I know I still hold on to today came from a theme that was present in my favorite heroes…

We all know Spider-Man was this guy who was bit on the hand by this radioactive spider and was given all these amazing powers. However his life was truly altered when a thief robbed a man that had just wronged him, and instead of stopping the thief he let him go. Later that night, the same thief murdered the only father he had known.

Batman was based on a child of wealthy parents, they were leaving a show late at night and a thief stuck them up for money. The child stood and watched as both of his parents were shot and killed in front of him, filling him with a drive and pain to fight crime.

I thought about this in light of recent events. This past week former Penn State college football coach Joe Paterno died of lung cancer. He was 85 years old when he passed. He was a legend at Penn State coaching for 46 seasons and leading them to over 400 victories. Joe Paterno was fabulous at his job. He deserves all of the kudos and compliments that come with being a great college football coach. What struck a nerve with me was not about how he’s being remembered but what’s being forgotten.

There is currently an investigation going on at Penn State specifically their athletic department over allegations of sexual assault and sexual misconduct with underage boys by a former assistant football coach. (See “Snitch Please”) Joe Paterno was let go of his position because of allegations of him “looking the other way” and not getting involved in stopping the abuse. There is a growing list of men and young boys coming out saying they were abused on campus. Paterno admitted to being informed but ultimately did nothing about it.

You see in life much like comics defining moments aren’t always based on what you do sometimes it’s what you didn’t do. Spider-Man’s guilt and feelings of responsibility were embedded in him because he felt he should have stopped that thief. Batman’s pain and rage was formed based on the feeling that he should have been able to do something. By doing nothing Joe Paterno enabled and allowed the abuse of nearly 20 young boys to happen forever scarring their lives.

When I brought this up to some people I was met with, “Only God can judge a man”, “Don’t speak ill of the dead”, and a slew of other clich├ęd miscellaneous nonsense. First of all we judge men every day, it’s called a jury of our peers, and if you’re going to take the stand point that it’s all good because someone passes away then be consistent. If you feel Joe gets a pass then so does Osama Bin Ladin, Saddam Hussein, Adolf Hitler and EVERYONE else who has wronged in life and then passed on. I mean everyone! The guy who robbed your mother or beat your sister, the con-man that stole your grandparent’s retirement, even the drunk driver that took your child from you…EVERYONE! If you’re not willing to do that, close your mouth!

I understand that Paterno can no longer be punished but his involvement does need to be acknowledged. I hope that the story doesn’t die because he did and those boys receive justice. It’s not politically correct to continue to bring up the allegations with him passing and these kids can easily once again be swept under the rug.

It’s what we do in life that creates the legacy we leave behind; Joe Paterno didn’t shoot anyone, or steal or abuse children but his inactivity led to life altering circumstances for those young boys. Pain begets pain, and it can easily send a young mind spiraling into a dark place. Without something or someone to show to the contrary it’s very easy for a child to become lost.

I truly hope Joe Paterno is resting in peace, and in between the tv and xbox that the boys read a comic book or two.

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Monday, January 23, 2012

The Best Thing In Life...

We’ve all heard sayings like, “It’s the journey not the destination” or “life isn’t a race it’s a marathon”, more and more I’ve found this to be true.

It’s so easy to become focused on doing something for the sake of its completion and forgetting about taking the time to be in the moment of what it is we’re actually doing. As humans we’re creatures of habit and can fall into a pattern of tunnel vision based repetition. We go through the motions so often that we don’t even realize it until a calendar day bench mark. “It’s been 5 years already!”

I started to catch on to the importance of “being in the moment” some time ago but I have recently began to appreciate the whole “doing it just to do it” philosophy. As children we’ll do anything that seems fun, interesting or even dangerous for no other reason than it’s there. Growing older for some reason puts this stipulation on everything that there has to be some ultimate goal. Think about it, when was the last time you climbed a tree, sketched something with no artistic skill or just started running with no purpose? We think ourselves out of that joyous spirit. Taking it a step further we even mock and judge adults that still have theirs. Why? When did life become all about the final equation? When did death become so desirable that we choose focusing on where we are when it happens over just living life?

To be alive is amazing! Do you know that the life span of a human being is one of the most phenomenal feats that exist in the universe? Why? Because in one lifetime EVERYTHING is possible. Not some things or some stuff…EVERYTHING!

There was a time when Man wanted to swim and breathe under water like fish. To many this was impossible and could never happen. Crazy as it was and sounded the day before, within 24hrs we had the first Self Contained Under-Water Breathing Apparatus. Now we can SCUBA dive any day of the week and don’t give it a second thought. The idea of talking into a piece of plastic and communicating with someone thousands of miles away was once just an idea on Star Trek, now 9 year olds have cell phones. From bending tons of steel and making a craft that can fly people over the ocean to cloning genes and recreating life, it all changed in a day. Just because it’s not here today says nothing about tomorrow. EVERYTHING is possible. Knowing that, why not be excited about every day?

Maybe today doesn’t bring a new kind of energy or shoes that allow us to fly. It doesn’t mean today is any less great. Everything we do gives birth to a billion possibilities. So the shoes that don’t exist tomorrow may be here in 20 years created by the first step we put into motion today. Everything matters. That waiter you complained about at lunch yesterday may get fired because of it, leading him to pursue his true calling which is music. You’ve already forgotten about him but he may go on to write the song that is played as the first dance at your daughter’s wedding. EVERYTHING is possible.

Life has to be taken in fully, not as an A to B to C situation. This is not designed to take away from being driven. It is great to be ambitious and focused. I get having goals. I understand setting bench marks and wanting to push ourselves. It’s an amazing feeling to sit back and marvel in our own accomplishments, the important part is to give just as much value to the other days of our lives. Celebrating and acknowledging the ones we see as wins and especially the ones we deem as “losses”.

It’s important to be aware of how we judge our days. No day alive is a failure. We may not have reached our original goal but that doesn’t negate the experience or the life lived. I learned a lot and had some great experiences in college, but by definition I failed because I didn’t get a degree. I’ve dated and loved some pretty amazing women, but since I’m not married by definition I’ve failed at every relationship I’ve been in. From jobs I have worked at to the friends that I no longer speak to, I’ve failed more times than I can count…and I wouldn’t change any of it. All of it is my life and what has contributed to making me.

This moment is designed to appreciate moments, big and small. Enjoy your life you only get one.

“The best thing in life.” -Ice Cube

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Friday, January 6, 2012

Give Me 10: 10 Signs That Maybe He's Not The One!

Give me 10: 10 reasons, examples or indicators of a certain behavior. Take the time to use the checklist…you may need to check yourself. Today‘s list: 10 Signs That Maybe He’s Not The One!

10# When introducing you to friends he has to pause to remember your name.

9# You’ve been dating for 7 years and whenever marriage is brought up his “shoe is untied”.

8# He still thinks it’s funny that he’s slept with most of your friends.

7# For Xmas you bought his gift with your money & he bought your gift with your money.

6# You don’t see him for days at a time…but you live together.

5# He compares you to his other “baby mama”.

4# He’ll go all day without saying a word to you until 2 a.m. when he asks, “You sleep?”

3# His mother talks trash about you and he agrees.

2# He’ll get into a fist fight when someone disrespects his sports team but shrugs it off when someone disrespects you.

…and the 1# sign that maybe he’s not the one…

He’s still sleeping with other women!

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Thursday, January 5, 2012

She's Your Queen To-Be...

Eddie Murphy is arguably one of the top stand-up comedians of all time. Taking the baton from the likes of Flip Wilson, Redd Foxx & Richard Pryor he owned the 80’s & 90’s as a premiere comic talent. Not only was his stand-up phenomenal he was an actor as well. Filming and starring not only on television but a list of films. One of his best movies to date is “Coming To America”.

It’s the story of an African prince “Akeem of Zamunda”. (Played by Eddie) On Akeem’s 21st birthday he was to follow through with his arranged marriage to a woman he had never met. Not a fan of living life just to fulfill tradition Akeem was apprehensive. His fears were legitimized when he met his bride to be only to find that she had been groomed for him with no mind of her own. Akeem told his father, the king that he had no desire to marry her. His father interpreted that as a request to “sow his royal oats”, to sample all the women the world had to offer before marriage, and delayed the wedding. Akeem used that time to go to America to seek out the woman he truly wanted to spend his life with. Now we’re all up to speed…

True America isn’t a land of arranged marriages but we do follow some of the ways of Zamunda. Often we as men have a woman that is ready to be our queen. She is willing to postpone her own ambitions to help us with ours. She’ll overlook our flaws for the big picture of being together. She’ll even sacrifice a little of herself if it means giving to us and making the relationship work…and how do we repay her? We set off to “sow our royal oats”.

Yes in true princely fashion we embark on our own personal journey of fornication, fun & festivities. First of all I am a true proponent that a man shouldn’t settle down until he is truly ready. Don’t drag a woman and her feelings through your little attempt to find yourself. If that’s not the case and you tell a woman she’s the one and you mean it…that’s it! Turn in your player card and retire your jersey. You are officially out of the game!

We as men have this very bad habit of waiting until we’ve found the right woman before we formally close out with all of the wrong ones. Why? We know Miss Wrong when we see her, usually by trial and error. But there is this insane need to go back to the well one more time to be “sure”. Meanwhile our Queen-To-Be waits in the wings usually oblivious to our master plan.

I am the first one to stamp “personal responsibility” on any situation. I believe we are all accountable for our actions as individuals. My issue here is not only with the man…but with the women! Yes there are so many of you ladies (and I use the term loosely) that are willingly to play the role of “the last hoorah!” You will know of the woman ready to be his Miss Right & will settle for being his Miss Right Now. Why? Where is it that you feel you benefit? He’s not going to leave her, & if he did would you really want him? You already know what he’s capable of…

Look a man will tell you whatever he needs to in order to close the deal: “We’re not getting along”, “She doesn’t understand me”, “We barely talk”, “We don’t even have sex”, “I’m just with her for the baby” whatever it takes. Also understand, this isn’t a knock to Miss Queen-To-Be, she can statistically be perfect…he’ll still cheat. It’s not a circumstantial thing it’s a character issue. Ladies please burn this into your brain and memory: MEN DO NOT NEED A REASON TO CHEAT…JUST AN OPTION. If he’s going to do it, he’s going to do it. If you’re one of the ladies knowingly auditioning for the late night role of “receptacle” just know that feint annoying sound you hear in the distance is the whistle from the “Karma Train”…it never misses a stop and is never late. Just a heads-up.

Akeem came to America to find his Queen. To find that woman that regardless of royalty or titles he saw as his equal, his counterpart to love. A woman that would rule beside him and eventually he found her. Gentlemen if you’re lucky enough to find that queen have enough sense to appreciate her. Or simply man up and tell her you’re not ready. As funny as “Coming To America” is there’s nothing funny about the damage and emotional destruction done after wronging someone on that level.

Men, before the panic sets in thinking about not being with any other women for the rest of our lives we need to focus on the notion that it’s not about predicting the future but about remembering the past. Remembering why it didn’t work with any of those priors or why we never pursued those other women in the first place. Then remember what are lives were like without the one we chose to settle down with. It’ll be okay.

The movie of our lives doesn’t end in a search or a question…but with a Queen.

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Tuesday, January 3, 2012

It's A New Year But Is It The Old You?

Happy New Year! Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way…You may remember my post from last January (New Year’s Revolution) I don’t do the whole resolution thing. I simply make the same assessments and adjustments that I do throughout the entire year. Why wait until January to give 100% or only exert 80% of your energy in December?

One thing I have noticed so far this 2012 is the onset of a movement of responsibility. There are a lot of men stepping up and claiming that this is the time to reclaim manhood. This is the year to be better to our women and fathers to our children. 2 things, first, what have you been waiting for? Was there a notice placed on your door at 12:01a.m. January 1st stating that you had to finally use your testicles or lose them? I mean really, was there a meeting at the Bitchassness head quarters where everyone suddenly decided to resign? If you are over 30 yrs old and NOW you’re deciding to be a man quietly walk into the basement, dip your hand in syrup roll it around in loose gravel…THEN SLAP YOURSELF!

Second, is this new found movement simply another resolution that will never come to fruition? Will this campaign dissolve like the will to lose weight? Will we be back at Baskin Robbins and calling women bitches by March? Domestic violence and a drumstick please…

This is not to deflate the concept of being better men. We need to be. Honestly we dropped the ball sometime ago. Young men now are growing up undisciplined with no solid blueprint of proper male behavior. They don’t know how to respectably or properly approach or communicate with women. Their work ethic is horrible, filled with these soft feelings of entitlement. They care so little about what they represent. They are the face of their family; what they do, how they dress and how they act is a direct reflection of not only themselves but how they were raised. We have been losing this fight for a while. That being said I’m no quitter.

Resolution or not I’ll stand by my fellow man as we continue to battle this plague of Bitchassness and irresponsibility. Gentlemen let’s not start this year off just talking about what we’re going to do. If you haven’t seen your children lately respectably call their mother and do it. (Ladies if he’s trying please get out of your own way and let him.) Men, if you haven’t had a job since Bush was in office get off your behind and get one! If you are unemployed NO job is beneath you. You can’t use the excuse of pride as your reason for not flipping burgers. (No man with pride would allow himself to stay unemployed and burden someone else.) We also have to remember to lead by example. These neighborhood kids may not be ours but they watch what we do and hear what we say. Clean it up a little.

2012 is here. If this is what you’ve been waiting for get on it! We are implementing a zero tolerance policy for Bitchassness! We will be calling you out, pointing fingers and naming names…get your ish together!
It’s a new year but more importantly a new day, let’s make the rest of our lives the best of our lives.

I’ll check back in July, if you’ve been good maybe you can have some ice cream.

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