Thursday, June 30, 2011

Mark Halperin is fine

Here I am again, disgusted by the schoolyard bullying and baby handholding that goes on in America. Does anyone have thick skin anymore? You know what? Forget schoolyard stuff. In the schoolyard we used to say "Sticks and stones may break my bones but words can never harm me." It seems that's forgotten as we get older.

Yesterday, Time Magazine's Editor-in-Chief Mark Halperin is also a senior political analyst for MSNBC. He was on yesterday and he called President Obama a name. Oh boy. Here we go. Keep in mind that Halperin was an ardent support of Barack Obama during the campaign. In two years his views have changed. So, he called the president a dick. He said, "I thought [Obama] was a dick yesterday." Earth shattering.

Let me just say one thing from my end. If I'm not being a dick and you call me a dick, I couldn't give a shit less about it. Think what you want. I know my place and my actions and I know that I'm not a dick. Now, if I'm actually being a dick and you call me a dick, I'm probably gonna get a little pissed off about it. It stings when someone pegs you with a negative connotation. So why is the President getting the red-ass about it? Maybe because it's true.

So Halperin got suspended within a split second of saying it and posted a public apology. Are you kidding me? The guy gets paid to analyze a political situation and opine about it. So he did. What's the beef here? That one grown up called another grown up a grown up name? Was the FCC pissed? Can you even say dick on TV? I don't know. Are there children watching MSNBC that learned a dirty word?

Aren't we protected by something that allows us to speak our minds? What's that damn thing called? Oh yeah, The First Amendment of the Constitution protects our freedom of speech. Doesn't the first amendment specifically speak of freedom of the press as it applies to not worrying about repercussions from an overreaching government? So Mark Halperin, call the president a dick all day long, but only if you really believe it.

Every president, of late, has been called every name in the book. Look at Dubya... that guy got less respect than Rodney Dangerfield. Nobody said a damn thing about it. It's political commentary. It's opinion. What if he interchanged words. Instead of calling him a dick, he explained his feelings using other words. Realistically, he would still have a negative opinion of the president. So what we're really pissed off about is syntax? Do I have that right?

Let me make one thing clear. I'm not going to advocate for acting like a degenerate neanderthal that can only spit on themselves while cursing out high ranking officials. Let's keep things in perspective. But Mark Halperin is the Editor-in-Chief of Time Magazine and a Senior Political Analyst for MSNBC. Presumably, he's good at what he does and he's educated. He's also human and slipped and if anything, spoke a little too honestly for all the prudes out there. Let's not crucify a guy for saying a word we've all said just because he said it to a larger audience. You know why I haven't said the word dick to millions of Americans? I've never had an audience that large.

Grow up America and Mark, speak the truth brother. Somebody has to. I do, but nobody listens to me.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Gimme, Gimme, I want, I want

As many of my readers know (either through posts or personal interaction), I come from somewhat of a privileged life. I was blessed with an intact nuclear family, caring and nurturing parents, and no shortage of that green stuff. We always had way more than we needed and all of what we wanted. I've also been fortunate in my health, both of body and mind. Before laziness took its toll, I was very active in multiple sports - soccer, skiing, hockey, swimming, etc. I never struggled in school aside from finding the motivation to realize potential. Many things have come easy to me. I think it was a combination of mom's excitement and dad's work ethic. I always WANTED to do really well at things.

I may have expected some things to be handed to me along the way, at times. Why shouldn't they be? We were upper middle class from the New York City metro area. We were good, hard working, honest people. Dad went to work in a suit and tie with a briefcase, mon - fri, 9-5. Mom took care of the kids. It was a 1950s TV show flash-forwarded to the 80s/90s. I'm in my 30s now with a great job, but no career. I'm a year out from a divorce. My salary is a hair over my retail jobs from nearly a decade ago. I live in Biloxi, MS which requires a constant, conscious effort to slow down in movement, thoughts, and speech as to not leave the natives in the dust. I'm constrained by the military machine. There's no room for innovation or vision.

There's so much I want. I'm not content with a $60,000/year job. Not when I know I'm capable of so much more. I'm not even content with a $160,000/year job. It's decent money and would be an amazing upgrade right now, but that's not the kind of money you can look back on and realize you had it all. That's the kind of money you make in the NYC area after about 7-10 years of solid industry experience tied in with some management. I want a least another 0 on the end of that bad boy.

And nobody is going to give me what I want. It doesn't matter how smart I am or how badly I think I can manage something and sit in an ivory tower and direct people below me. Nobody is going to just hand it over. So... I'm going to take it. I have idea and vision. I see ways to innovate. I want to change the world. All the naysayers reading this are rolling their eyes and shaking their heads. That's fine. There's always someone with an idea or an ability and that person, hopefully, seizes the opportunity and makes it happen. It's gotta be someone, so might as well let that someone be me.

I'm finally organizing everything. Reworking all the brands I've worked so long to build a little at a time. Tech-City, Vig The Geek, JayVig Photography, JayVig Media. They are all coming together under one roof. An LLC will be formed in the near future. Brands will be defined along with services. I will stop trying to monetize everything and, in turn, end up monetizing nothing.

The company will have a clear mission statement and be defined the way a company should be. I'll no longer be doing all of it. There are others starting this company with me, each with our roles and checks and balances to keep it functioning. Real plan. Real business. Real money.

I don't know how long it will take, but I know we'll get there. I have so many ideas and want so many things and the bridge between the two is money. It's going to be a wild ride with so many unexpected events along the way, but I'm ready for them as is the rest of the team.

Stay tuned, because I'm about to (with the help of my team) make a lot of dreams come true.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Learn how to argue

With the NY Senate passing the bill to allow gay marriage just last night, it's been a hot topic today. The latest viral campaign has been on Facebook with a post that goes as follow.
So let me get this STRAIGHT. ..Kelsey Grammer can end a 15yr marriage by phone, Larry King is on divorce #9, Britney Spears had a 55hr marriage, Jesse James & Tiger Woods, while married, were having sex with EVERYONE, 53% of Americans get divorced and 30-60% cheat on their spouses. Yet, same-sex marriage is going to destroy the institution of marriage? Really? Re-post if you find this ironic! 
Before I go any further, let me take a minute to clear the air. I do NOT support gay marriage. This is my personal opinion. This has been ingrained in my through my years growing up in a Catholic church and my conservative Republican ideologies that have formed as I became an adult. I'm not here to argue the merits of gay marriage or about being gay at all. I'm just on another kick about word usage and context. However, my own personal lean and feelings will probably be evident throughout my explanation. If you don't like it, I understand and you are more than welcome to close your browser or start your own blog. This, however, is not the forum for discussion about it. It is MY personal blog which contains my personal thoughts and opinions. As a reminder, my beef at the moment is with the post itself and not the topic.

So these celebrities did some outlandish things. That's what celebrities do. Whether it's marriage related or their salaries, they are not the average person. They are certainly not representative of the whole. Since when do we, in science, use the smallest percentage as a reference point for the majority. Do we do that in democracy too? How about in match? Do we use the mean (average) or median (middle) or do we look at the most extreme boundaries? Even the most extreme candidates for office, within their respective parties, rarely get the vote. It's the centrists that people gravitate towards. Large percentages and middle ground is the fat part of the bell curve where most people reside on any topic.

So using the celebrity facts is nonsensical. I mean when you think about it, the author of this post used Britney Spears as a reference. This is the same woman who drives with her kid on her lap, shows the world her vagina and then shaves her head. Clearly not the average middle American.

The point is that these people who wreck the institution of marriage are not representative of the institution of marriage. They are whacked out cases. The institution of marriage is just as intact as it always ways. It still stands for the same thing. Whether people honor that or not is their own personal business but the constructs, the sanctity of marriage still exists, as it is an ideal and not a tangible thing. It certainly is not tied to the actions of a few individuals.

This post that's floating around is also predicated on the fact that gay people will not get divorced. Who is to say that the current 53% divorce rate (if that's even accurate) is not added to by gay people. Maybe it'll go up markedly for all we know. Maybe it'll go down and it won't be due to the better gay people and it'll be done simply because by the numbers there are more marriages so each divorce impacts the percentage less meaning it appears to go down. In that case, numbers can go up but percentage will not go up and may, in fact, go down.

So will the institution of marriage be destroyed? Possibly. That depends on how you define it. Is it the union of two people in love? Then probably not. Two people who are united regardless of how they feel? Definitely won't wreck it. Do you define it as the union of a man and a woman? Then yes, gay marriage destroys the institution of marriage. So it's all about context and definition.

As always, I don't take issue with what people say as much as I do with how they say it. That post is ignorant and nonsensical. It does not help prove anyone's case. However, it is emotionally charged and, therefore, will be followed and restated by the moronic masses.

I don't wish divorce on people. It's messy and expensive and it sucks - I know, I've been through it. But I'm curious to see what happens when gay marriage gets passed and just as many gay marriages are ending as straight marriages. Then what have we done? We've cluttered the divorce courts and broken up more homes. People are people regardless of their sexual orientation. Gay couples will fight about money and infidelity just like straight couples. Are they entitled to lose half their shit like the rest of us? Fine, go for it. I surrender. I don't agree with it, but go ahead and be as miserable as we are if you feel the need.

My parents have been married almost 40 years. They had ups and downs and they're still together. I know lots of people who are. From their generation I know more together than apart. From mine, it's the opposite. So maybe it's a cultural thing. The bigger, better, faster, more, I want it now, instant gratification generation in the United States that causes divorce. It's what causes people to make snap decisions about both getting married and leaving the marriage. Guess what? Gay folks are part of the same generation.

Let's see if you call out the gay celebrities for their horrible behavior too when it starts happening.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Morons

I can't keep it in. I just can't. I see all this stupidity online and it drives me crazy. I often wonder if we're getting dumber because of technology or are we seeing more of it because of technology and I think it's a combination of the two. Anyone who has been following this blog knows how I feel about the to, two, too thing, there, their, and they're and my biggest pet peeve - your and you're. It makes my skin crawl every time I see some use your in place of you're. Some of my closest friends do it and it drives me bonkers. You're is YOU ARE. It's two goddamn words. How can you not know the difference?

The online stupidity is not relegated to the grammatically inept. Oh no. Every kind of ignoramus has found a voice online. The one that inspired this tirade had to do with geographical directions. Someone, on Facebook, referenced a story that was brewing and commented on is direction. Dopey outlined her hopes that the storm wouldn't hit where she lived - which was the opposite direction of where it was just said to be headed. She immediately got called out by original poster and rather than admitting she's a moron without an iota of common sense, she got defensive. As if she SHOULDN'T know.

Here's the funny part. She claimed that she didn't have mountains around her like in her home town to use a point of reference. Guess where she lives? On the Gulf Coast in Florida. Well let's see. There's a fuck-ton of water near you. My bet is that it's not a lake. It's the Gulf of Mexico. So... could that be North or South? Bingo was his name. You have a reference point.

How about the fact that outside of areas like NYC, almost all roads have directions. Interstate 10 only goes East or West, just like Hwy 98 in Florida. You use these terms constantly. If you don't know then you're a moron, plain and simple. You have every right to be a moron. What you do not have the right to be, however, is indignant about your stupidity. It's as if you earned the right to be stupid and you defend it so vehemently. You're proud of sounding incapable of passing the first grade.

This goes on all day. I understand not everyone is going to change the world. I know that nobody is perfect. The world needs ditch diggers as much as it needs visionaries. I get all that. I refuse to relinquish my feelings that adults who are capable of driving, voting and, most importantly, breeding should be able to complete an elementary school level exam. I will not surrender that belief no matter what. Maybe it makes me harsh. Maybe it makes me an arrogant asshole. I don't know, but that's it.

We are dumber than ever and we're more obvious about it. Schools lack... something... I have no idea what, but students aren't getting the information or it's not being reinforced. The Internet breeds laziness. There are tons of free dictionaries out there. Use them. If you can't spell antidisestablishmentarianism, you're forgiven. If you can't tell the difference between your and you're, then YOU'RE a moron.

It's that simple. Pick up a book, read a newspaper, pay attention. Do something to sound less stupid. For crying out loud, we had a show called "Are you smarter than a 5th grader?" because everyone knew enough contestants were not.

This is embarrassing. I'm moving to Bolivia.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Sad about this guy?

If I'm reading the news correctly, a guy who made a living by doing stupid, dangerous things died in a very similar way last night. Ryan Dunn, formerly of Jackass fame, was in a car wreck last night that killed himself and his passenger. This guy was known for doing stupid, daredevil stunts. Preliminary reports from the accident say that speed and alcohol may have been factors.

I was never really a watcher of Jackass. The name itself implies it's devoid of all possible intellectuality. I've seen it from time to time and they had their funny bits, but they always seemed to go too far into the realm of pure stupidity. Just totally inane. I couldn't handle it. Especially when they went from stupid to disgusting.

Facebook and Twitter are all a buzz with people being upset and missing Ryan Dunn. What has this guy done since Jackass? Was he even one of the main player when he was on Jackass? He's most famous for putting a toy car in his asshole. Why do we praise and worship stupid people who do stupid things and enable them to do more of it? Then when the most likely thing in the world happens and they kill themselves being the exact person we helped condition them to be, we're upset.

Do people really hold so little value in their lives and have nothing better to do than watch people purposely hurt themselves? And how do these people get so many viewers to line up behind them and consider them heroes? I've often spoken about the focus of America and why we're looked at like we are morons by the rest of the world. Maybe weeping on Facebook about the loss of an ignoramus who hurt himself on purpose is part of it.

I'm definitely confused. I could not possibly give less of a shit about the death of Ryan Dunn. Sure, nobody wants to see and other human being get killed. But he's just like any other person and gets no special treatment from me. I'm partially disturbed that Ryan Dunn has impacted me to the point that I've used this time to write this post. He was a moron. A true Jackass and while I don't wish death on anyone I can't saw I'm shocked. He acted stupid. He drank and drove and posted pictures to his Twitter while doing it. Frankly, he got what was coming to him. Still sad?

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Two way street

I know in recent months I've done some bitching about things in life. I hit a rough patch with my social life, but all that has slowed down. Those that I don't get along with and have beefs with have been eliminated. My life has been decidedly less dramatic. What's funny about it is that I've been the same person throughout all of it. I haven't budged on who I am, how I act, what I think or any part of my person. The people that are still in my life are wonderful, trustworthy people. We all have fun. We hang at the pool and get some sun, have some beers and then grill and enjoy tasty food and good companionship. We get together on Xbox and save the world. It's easy. It's fun.

When there's a social agenda, I pick up the phone. Sometimes they pick up the phone. It's very natural. It's a two way street. Not everyone subscribes to that policy though. There are some people around that require chasing. They want to hang out. They want to have fun. They enjoy time when they are all together, but if you don't call them, they don't call you. If you don't and they hear that people have been social, they get upset.

This has gone so far that the be all, end all of friendship statuses, Facebook, has shown it. Someone didn't get a phone call over something and chose to click the magic "block" button. Keep in mind that the entire situation was predicated on tentative plans for some point. I didn't call, they didn't call. I have my life and they have theirs and as anyone knows, time flies by. So we got caught up, didn't make plans, they moved and now they're pissed at whoever didn't meet their expectations.

Normally I'd rant and rave for days on end at the ridiculousness, but I'm not going to. I can look to my right as I type this and see two of my closest friends hanging out enjoying a quiet Sunday before we head to the pool and realize that the drama just doesn't matter.

As for the rest of the folks that require the constant chasing... I have no beef with them in any way shape of form. I'm also not going to hunt them down. You know my number and where I life. Wanna hang out? Call. If not, then don't. It's all good. When we see each other we have fun and enjoy it but I have enough going on that I'm not begging anyone.

I have my job. I have school. Within the next few months I'll be (with help from those who understand the two-way street) forming a new company. In 2 years I'm moving back to New Jersey. The last thing I need is to worry about any of this nonsense. So, I'm not going to.

Whoever shows up and puts the time in will get the same in return from me. Anyone is welcome to step it up and increase our relationship at any point. Until then, I'll be investing my time into things that have a proven ROI.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Homogeneity

The military is SO diverse, yet so alike. Sure we come from different areas and backgrounds but once we get here, we're all the same. Part of it is by design. It's a unity thing. It's why we wear uniforms and squadrons are called units and we march the same way, all together, they laugh alike, they walk alike, sometimes they even talk alike - too much Nick at Nite over the year I guess. Ignore the Patty Duke song. Anyway, we become homogenized. There are parts that just happen. It's not just a job. It's a lifestyle. We work and live together. We are all out of our elements. So we gel and become like one another.

In the process, we lose a piece of our identities. I don't like this. My identity is unique and complex. I come from an area that wasn't bad but not fantastic. Some friends still live with their grandmothers and work at gas stations. We had a 3 bedroom house and a pool in the yard. And I'm talking about before I moved to NJ. This is from the old NY days. My life was very Yin and Yang as I think back. We could hang out at a family barbecue and swim in the pool in the yard in the same day as applying...umm... urban artwork. Lots of weird duality.

My Queens crew had its own name and everyone in it had their own names as well. There was Brian Garlic, Skelly Miller, Keas, Wake, Ronnie Fingers, Biz, Rid, and others and since I moved away I was affectionately called "Jason from Jersey." And I mean ALL the time. As long as it was to say, it was used in its entirety even when addressing me.

We had stockings hanging in our favorite bar at Christmas time. We injected made up or shortened words into our vernacular and they'd spread. Do you remember the term "herb" for someone who was considered like a loser or nerd? Started in my old neighborhood. If I had to guess, it was one of Skelly's, but I just know it began near me. We said it years before I heard it anywhere else. There's a list of things I said nonstop all day long as part of my speech patterns that I lost when I came into the military. Some were pretty stupid to be honest, but that's not the point. I didn't give them up because they were stupid. They just faded over time being part of this vanilla lifestyle. Maybe I would have outgrown some, but maybe not. I hate that being in such an insular society like the military has caused me to conform. I'm far from outlandish by nature, but lost any little bit of flair.

I've been thinking about re-introducing these words and spreading them around the southland. They already say stupid shit like, "I'm fixin' to go to the store" and the forever dumb "y'all" anyway. So here are some... don't judge me.

-Herb - loser, jerk, overall putz.
-Schroom - bathroom
-Pcs - hot girl. Crude people see a hot girl and call her a "piece." This is subtle, as pcs is the abbreviation for pieces.
-Shrab (maybe shroub. Not sure how to spell a word that's not real)- a hard time. When your wife is nagging you to do something, she's giving you shrab.
-WhattaWeGot.
--Greeting. "Hey buddy. WhattaWeGot."
--Clarification. "Wanna go eat?" "Depends. WhattaWeGot."
--Confusion. "I don't understand why this won't work. WhattaWeGot with this thing?"
-Mad - modifier to mean a lot or intense. "It was mad hot out today." Can even be used alone. "You like that movie?" and you say, "yeah. mad."
-Round - all encompassing. Not round like a circle, but like a round of boxing or a round of drinks.
--Replaces shrab or adds to it. "She won't leave me alone, she's always giving me a round (or a round of shrab)."
--"You want sushi?" "Nah, I don't really have a round."

That's all I can think of at the moment, as these have been pushed into the depths of my memory. The actual terms aren't as important as it is to reclaim all of me before I let go of parts to mesh into this [temporary] life. Hard to separate yourself and be unique and have vision and be innovative when you fall in with the flock. So I'm going to be me like I always have, and this may be the opposite of what the world truly needs, but I'm going to be MORE of me - like I used to be.

I also can't wait to annoy the shit out of all the southerners when the full fledged "yankee" in me resurfaces.

Friday, June 10, 2011

We are gathered here today...

If I remember correctly, in about 4 hours I was supposed to get married. Today was the day. Friday, June 10, 2011. It would have been in planning longer than 18 months. We had a magnificent place in New Jersey called Macaluso's that was just beautiful. The food would have been amazing. Everything about this day would have been grandiose. I'd have enjoyed every minute of it. The truth of the matter is that, while I'd have loved it when it happened, we all know who these days are really for.

Before I go on, I know some of you are wondering how I could have been getting married if I was already married. Linda, sometimes referred to as "dummy" or "the leech," and I were married civilly and we were planning this gigantic wedding event in the church and celebration that followed.

One year ago today, she left for New Jersey for wedding planning. It was during this trip that she ordered, booked, bought, or scheduled thousands of dollars of stuff for our wedding in an all-expense paid shopping spree kind of way. I paid, my parents paid and she grabbed like a spoiled brat. I was here in Mississippi receiving phone calls with "I want" and "I need money" reminiscent of a toddler in Toys R Us. It was reported to me that she had near tantrums on more than one occasion.

This is a girl who comes from nothing and was handed everything. A princess wedding. A dream come true or as she put it "finally getting everything I stopped wanting because I never thought I'd get it." Fourteen days later she retuned and sixteen days after that she left. Imagine that. Those of you who know me well, know the story of how this all came to be. It's pure insanity.

Today was supposed to be the happiest day of my life and meanwhile, look at what this last year has turned into. I'm angry at myself for allowing this to happen and be disappointed again. I'm furious at her for letting me believe she was one person and then showing herself to be another. I'm regretful at the mistakes I've made along the way with her, but I'm relieved because it all accelerated the process. More than anything I'm thankful that we didn't spend the equivalent of an S class Mercedes before she decided to flip out or, God forbid, have children together.

I can't say that even .0001% of me wants her back. Maybe .01% even wants to see her face again. I'm sorry for all the letdowns of my family. I'm sorry for the money lost in all this. I'm sorry I'm in Mississippi alone (I can't imagine reenlisting if I was solo at the time). I guess I miss the idea of what it all was supposed to be; the next chapter of my life and the most amazing celebration possible to mark the start of all of it. It's over and done with now. Service providers have our deposits, we all have disappointments and somehow in the blink of an eye I went from having a future beautiful bride to an ex-wife. It was awesome. We were so alike and so happy.

Now we're just two strangers connected only by the bill collectors that call for her.

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Weiner's Wiener

Guess what everybody? A politician had an affair. The end.

Ok, I'll keep going. So Weiner had some 26 year old send pictures, messages, etc into ABC about the year affair she had with Democrat Anthony Weiner. He admitted that it was him and that he was wrong. Do you believe him? There were a reported total of six different women over three years. This was not a one-time mistake. Before we attack his character, let's turn to the citizens of New York (that's who he represents, in case the only thing you knew about him is that he shows his pecker to people he shouldn't). Anyway, New Yorkers? Has Weiner served you well? That just sounds funny. Seriously, has he done a good job keeping you satisfied? No really... has this man done his job? If so, then who cares what he does in his marriage? Maybe you can't trust a word he says.

And this is not partisan because both sides of the coin are full of hypocrisy. Republicans scream and yell about morals and family. Then they knock up the maid or do "The Larry Craig Shuffle" and tap their feet in a men's room in a morse code pattern that apparently means "nice ass."

The Democrats are no better. They're busy spitting granola all over the place in an effort to say leave us alone and let us love whoever we want, however we want - even if it's the tree we live in. Weiner was a democrat.

The Republicans are in favor of Capitalism and big business and don't want to over-regulate things except who can marry who, who can get an abortion, and every personal detail of what they consider right and wrong (tap, tap, tap-tap-tap, tap-tap just means do you have spare toilet paper?).

The Democrats yell at the government and say, "you can't tell us who to love," but come running back and say "give us welfare, we need help. please almighty government take care of the masses."

See? It's all nonsense.

I guess I could give a shit less what these people do in their private lives. I watch actors/actresses because I like movies. I don't care how many third world countries Angelina Jolie goes to so she can dust off another baby and take it home. I watch sports because I like to see grown men beating the shit out of one another and it's a great reason to drink more beer. Don't care if they have unique ways of playing with their pets. I vote for politicians because they enact laws in concert with my beliefs. I don't care what they do. I don't even care if their beliefs are the same as mine. I care that they will fight for my beliefs. I'm in the military. You think I wholeheartedly agree with every military maneuver completed since I joined? I don't have to believe in every second of every minute of every day, but I'll serve like I do. That's my job.

So if Anthony Weiner wasn't getting any and decided to get some in ways he shouldn't have, but... the state of New York is in better shape, then so be it. Maybe a little action is good for the guy. Maybe he does a better job. His no name next door neighbor has probably been banging the babysitter and the wife is sleeping with the Tennis pro at the club. You don't know about it so you don't care? Does that make it right? No. It just makes it their personal life. Those people probably show up to work every day and do an outstanding job because ONE HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH THE OTHER.

So to Weiner, and his wiener, I hope it was worth it and I'm sorry the scandal is, more than likely, gonna get you fired. The real shame is that we left Europe to escape persecution and control only to come here and continue to be uptight, prudes. Nothing really changed. We just have better technology now.

Saturday, June 04, 2011

Did you learn anything from it?

As I mentioned once before, we all make mistakes in life. However, the only real mistake is the one you learn nothing from. If you do something you shouldn't and take away some value, then it's a learning experience. If you don't, then it's truly a mistake. This is not about any one mistake that anyone has made. Rather, it's about allowing history to repeat itself and getting what you deserve. Remember the "fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me" saying? If the same person fools you twice, in the same way, then it's hard to feel bad for you because you should have known better.

I had this conversation with someone just yesterday who was complaining that people don't change their behavior and he has a hard time with it. We went around and around on the phone and I stopped him finally and said, "if every time you invite me over your house I show up and punch you in the face, eventually you'll stop inviting me over." You learn about bad behavior and avoid it. Now... if you say "I didn't know this was going to happen" then you haven't been paying attention. If you knew it was going to happen and didn't care, then it's on you for welcoming this negativity into your life repeatedly and, therefore, lose the right to complain.

It reminds me of another favorite quote of mine - if you always do what you've always done; you'll always get what you always got. If you don't change your approach, why would the results change. Shit in, shit out, as they say.

Some things are mistakes and there's no way around it. That doesn't mean they have to be a negative force in your life; totally devoid of any value. Ever get a question wrong on a test? Would you get the same question wrong a second time? Hopefully you learned and better negotiate the exam the next time. It sucked to get it wrong, but you found value and learning in the experience and ended up stronger for it. Truth be told, that scenario may even be more positive because the correct answer has been reinforced that much further after getting it wrong the first time.

I see this a lot, and I know I've done it myself at times. It's stupid and counter productive. As humans, we do the wrong thing sometimes, but why do we allow ourselves to repeat it and subject ourselves to the negative circumstances again and again? More importantly, why do we stand for poor treatment from other people repeatedly?

A wise, old friend* of mine mentioned the same thing to me not long ago. He was 100% correct. In business we look for ROI (return on investment). If we consistently lose money on a deal, we stop making the deal. Translate that to relationships and emotions. In both business and science, we make this call after we've collected enough data to do some trend analysis and be sure. Do the same thing in your life.

For those looking to pinpoint hypocrisy in my writing, and I know you exist, I'm not talking about judging people. I've taken a hard line against judgment like that. You can, however, judge the value of a relationship. Do you think an alcoholic judges people who drink? Not necessarily. Will they spend time with people who frequent bars though? Probably not. They have no beef with the person, but choose not to keep company with them, for their methods are in opposition to each other.

I guess I have a hard time watching friends of mine get a raw deal from other people that they know they're gonna get a raw deal from. It's no surprise, you can't change a person, cut your losses and press on. Losing people always sucks, but if the relationship loses more than it gains it's time to walk away. In very rare cases, a single instance is enough to break the bond, but that's not my story today. Today it's about a small, recurring issue that happens so often, it no longer feels small to you. It's a negative trend and a poor standard. Move on, you'll be better for it.



*By the way, my wise, old friend is not old. He's a wise friend and an old friend, as to say we go way back. He, in and of himself, is not old. ;)

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Pets = Family

So it's come to my attention that people think I'm ridiculous about my cats. I shouldn't post status updates about them or pictures. When I call them adorable and say that I love them, it's ridiculous and gay. One person may actually believe that I'm gay because of it. Grow up.

Speaking of growing up, I never had pets as a kid. My brother and I had allergies. Mark's were much, much worse. We had fish and he had a turtle. Never cats and dogs. When my ex-wife moved down to SC she had 3 cats and I said "no way." I was not for it. Did not want any cats. So she found homes for 2 of them. The last one was a little skittish and not very friendly and nobody would take him. So she had to bring him. As it turns out, he was cute and very, very funny with all the stupid cat things he'd do. I grew to really like him.

Then we moved to Mississippi and wanted someone for him to play with. So we got Shadow. She was a little kitten and lots of fun. Linda's cat was a few years old and she had him a while. I never saw him from a little kitten. It was like a stepkid. When we got shadow, it was like my own. So when Linda left, I told her she couldn't take Shadow with her. I had 3 requirements that she had to leave behind - her ring, Shadow, and my last name. We named Shadow what we did because she follows me everywhere. She's my shadow.

After Linda left, Shadow was a mess. She's wake up in the middle of the night on my chest doing that crying meow. They don't speak, but they can try to get a point across. She was upset. Her mom and brother left one day and never came back. When I would be upset about the separation, she'd get maternal and climb on me and lick my hands like she was trying to care for me. I know they don't understand what you say when you talk to them and they certainly can't verbalize a response, but I came home to an empty house every day and having another living, breathing creature in the house was comforting.

Immediately, I went to the animal shelter and picked up Herbie. Shadow needed someone to hang around with and her mood improved after about 2 days of sniffing Herbie's ass to determine how she felt about him. Now they're best friends. She takes care of him and mothers him all the time too.

Some months went by and I was in PetSmart. I saw Benny. He had a brother and they were little and cute but I was not about to get 2 more cats. That's insanity. But, I had to go back in the store later that day and sure enough, someone was walking out with his brother right then and there. When I went to the back to see Benny, he was all alone and clearly miserable. I couldn't leave him like that. So I took him home with me.

I have 3 cats. It's a lot. I love Benny boy but I honestly wouldn't have gotten a third one if I could go back and do it all over again. Now that I do have them, I'm also not sorry. People cry when pets die. Movies are made about pets. They are family. You love them and they love you back. I understand it's not traditional for men to have cats and I know people call me the male version of the crazy cat lady that dies alone with 900 cats.

I'm a single guy in an apartment. I leave all day and come and go randomly. I work long hours. Having a dog is not really sensible. The place isn't that big. Dogs can be noisy. The apartment complex only allows for small dogs (which would make me just as gay in the minds of the morons). Most importantly, dogs require structure. So many friends of mine have to go home at certain times to take care of their dogs. That's not for me. So I have cats.

They're playful and loving and keep me company. They things they do make me laugh. Everyone that comes over, loves them because they're friendly to everyone and just want to be pet and played with. As a matter of fact, the night I was in PetSmart I was with a buddy. He and I were gushing over the cuteness of Benny when some tough looking dude walked by. We both straightened right up and stopped. This guy asks, "What they got in there? Dogs or cats?" We said that they were all cats and mostly kittens. So he walks up and looks. Now keep in mind that this guy is tough looking thug kinda guy and the minute he saw Benny, he started to tap on the glass and talk to Benny in a baby voice. Is he gay? His wife and kid were in tow. Maybe he's just not a heartless bastard and can appreciate the cuteness of a baby animal the way people do with kids.

I don't have kids. I no long even have a wife. In 9 days, I was supposed to have a gigantic wedding celebration with my no ex-wife (we did the civil thing and this was gonna be the religious thing and reception). All of that is gone now. It's just me and the cats. No wife, no kids, no roommates. So you can call me gay or think it's ridiculous.

Pets are family for so many people. For me and my situation and how my pet ownership evolved... cats are for me. I enjoy them and give them a good home. They are spoiled brats, to be honest. I am NOT the crazy cat lady. For one, I'm not a woman. Two, I'm not going to die alone. Three, I'm not getting more. Two was enough, but I couldn't resist Benny. So that's where I stand.

Think whatever you want, but I'd personally prefer you spent less time thinking about me being ridiculous and especially gay and went on with your own lives. My cats are my kids, just like 99% of pet owners out there.