I Hope I Never Act Like That!

It isn’t uncommon for me to observe someone and think to myself “God, I hope I never act like that” only to realize that whatever buffoonish performance I am witnessing was once in my repertoire. Sometimes we see some of ourselves in others and usually those characteristics or acts might not be as “cool” or “attractive” as we may think. There were a few times in the not-so-distant past where I was hanging out with someone and their behavior was so peculiar that I couldn’t help but be utterly annoyed.

 

One instance in particular, is when I escaped to Lake Tahoe for a last minute ski jaunt with one of my female friend’s younger brother. He seemed like a really nice kid, and by kid I mean he might have been 23 while I was 26 or such.  Not long after our short road trip, he wasted no time getting wasted. Not only did he get hammered and become somewhat sloppy but he morphed into the Jersey Shore “Situation.” For the rest of the trip he could not pass one female without full-out creepin it. The girls would not even be at the “o” part of “NO” before he was already clocking the next bogie. I have never seen such unfocused artless tenacity and determination in pursuit of tail.

 

In another example, I dated someone who needed to talk more than me and just needed to ALWAYS be the center of attention. This just wasn’t happening – I can’t have that. The world and especially the conversation revolve around ME! Or maybe there were those times where I had to baby-sit someone who eerily resembling “Obnoxio The Clown” (my drunken alter ego that used to roam the Auburn University and the Pike house).

 

I would like to think I was never as extreme as the examples I’ve laid out or the countless others I have encountered. The truth is I think they are a hyperbole to teach me a lesson. Maybe seeing the severe form of some of my worse habits or tendencies has allowed me to realize what others have endured when I exhibit certain discordant behavior. It would be blaringly evident in my friends and families faces when I was acting over the top. They would try to tame me by feeding me water or telling me to chill out. But it wasn’t until I saw my mirror or actually getting to see myself on tape that I truly understand how foolish or annoying I can be.

 

Look, I accept everyone for who they are and their originality and comprendo that no one is perfect.  For the most part, we all strive to be better rounded people and if the lessons we learn about ourselves have to come at the hands of a lushed-out friend slapping us in the dingie, or a high maintenance woman being pissy for no real reason; only to have it dawn on us that we’ve been that intoxicated fool or that abrasive ass. As individuals we rarely delve into what our behavioral habits are and what makes us tick, but next time we observe someone’s behavior that is less than appropriate, we shouldn’t think to ourselves “…I hope I never act that way…” but rather ask… “Do I act like that?” Because when it is right in front of our face there is not only no denying the behavior, but it is also irrefutable how repellent we might be.

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I Have the Best Idea EVER!!!!!

It happens to me at least once a week. I seem to conjure up ideas that I believe are pure genius! Immediately a feeling of excitement starts to fester deep within as I menatally construct the layers of my Uber-Mega-Cash Flow-Producing widget/website/business. I whip out my Blackberry and start blowing up those closest to me to inform them that I just came up with the next iPod or Google.  Whether it’s my idea for a solar powered flashlight or a thought activated Google, I somewhat realized that an idea is a small fraction of what it takes to be successful in such an endeavor.  I often regurgitate a quote that was once shared with me that states “the difference between dreamers and the successful is action.” 

With this in mind my close friend Michael shared an exchange he found on a tech blog that rang strong:

.:

I have the best idea for an iPhone app, well, modestly speaking, ever! So how do I sell this great idea? Is there a forum for discussing how to get an idea sold? Any help you can offer will be appreciated.

Dearest Mike,

The sad facts are these (and, I’m sorry, darling, but this is going to sound a little harsh): Ideas are cheap. Work is hard. And App Store is, I’m afraid, built on a lot of hard labor. If you really believe in your idea, you’re going to have to work out a business plan, arrange for capital, hire and oversee artists and programmers, and market that baby to success.

Absolutely no one that I’m aware of is searching for new ideas or, more importantly, is willing to pay for them. Lots of people have ideas. Many people have way too many ideas. There is just no demand, market-wise. True, the “next, best thing” may be out there, but it’s the doers, not the dreamers, that make that dream take shape. 

If your idea is great — and I have no doubt that it is — it’s yours for you to grasp. Whether you program it yourself or find a way to fund its creation, there is no road but hard work in order to bring it to its realization.

 

As my blogging counterpart just poignantly stated, at the end of the day, the best success stories aren’t born from the most brilliant ideas but rather execution and hard work.  McDonald’s isn’t the world’s largest seller of burgers because they are the best burgers or some revolutionary idea – far from. McDonald’s is the most successful because of a strong system and execution.  My mom used to say “if you can dream it you can do it,” but truth be told…if you dream it will only be worth something if you actually do it. 

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Is it a Small World or Did We Sit at the Same Table?

“It’s a small world!” We hear and say it all the time – it’s probably one of the most common clichés and, throughout our lives, we accumulate gigabytes of memories, impossible stories, haphazard connections and crazy coincidences that verify it. The world’s population is approximately 7 billion and the US is just over 300 million – that’s a lot of friken faces — but for as vast and populated as this rock may be, we often cross paths with someone we know in the most random, chance situations.

I love being cyber-connected and knowing people everywhere, yet it never ceases to amaze me how a few degrees separates most of us. I’ve actually had it happen where a Venezuelan acquaintance (who lived in LA) knew somebody I knew from Venezuela with no real connection other than coincidence. How can that be? Venezuela’s population is over 25 million and I might know, at the very most, maybe a couple dozen people there. What are the chances that two totally random people I met—years apart, and by completely different circumstances—know one other? Well, I have a theory about all this: I call it the Cafeteria Effect.

In all those cheesy 80’s movies (i.e. 16 Candles, Can’t Buy Me Love, Pretty In Pink, et al), there is always a common scene. All those flicks depict what many of us experienced first hand in our high schools and even earlier – the establishment of cliques and social groups over food. Never are human demographics more clearly on display than during lunch period. Just as most cafeterias sport those movie theater, round nachos with the in-tray cheese reservoir, subscribe to Square-Pizza-Fridays and employ Mr. Creepy Janitor/Cafeteria Dude who’s always spying the teenyboppers, cafeterias also consistently reveal established tables (“social zones”) designated to certain crowds (“groups”). Table-plots divvy up into the jocks and cheerleaders, rockers and gothics, followed by the gamer (Dungeons and Dragons) computer geek squad, skaters and BMXers, maybe even the physics club and the tree huggers. School cafeterias are psychological arenas where, for the first time, social constructs begin to take root and solidify beneath our lunchboxes. These cafeterias prelude anecdotal evidence “like attracts like” and “birds of a feather flock together.”

However, what we don’t realize is that The Cafeteria Effect doesn’t end in high school; it carries into college and continues to grow with us into our professional years. At any university, our metaphorical cafeteria becomes much larger and so does our “table,” but the sphere of those with whom we congregate remains similarly well-defined. Moreover, these “cafeteria tables” often go a step further, becoming official via a team, a club or a fraternity/sorority.

In essence, no matter what city in which we end up, career path we take, or where our social circle carries us, we return to that similar demographic clique established in the cafeteria.

To state this theory succinctly:

The Cafeteria Effect is the theory that we perceive the world as “small” due to our innate, social instinct to gravitate to individuals with similar interests, appearance, intelligence, type and general demographics, drastically reducing the degrees of separation between people in individual groups, even if geographically widespread.

Now, I know what you’re thinking. Invariably, whenever I start to explain this theory to someone, those listening can’t wait to interject and adamantly object that they never stuck to just one table; or they bounced around; or they were friends with everyone; or they changed so much since back then. Funny thing is — this, in-of-itself, can be considered part of the theory. Many of those who fall into the aforementioned criteria make up a “table” of their own… those who bridge demographics comprise a sub-group… let’s call them an “overlap table.” The Ferris Buellers of the world who can sit with “the sportos, the motorheads, geeks, sluts, bloods, wastoids, dweebies, dickheads – they all adore him – they think he’s a righteous dude” kinda people.

To wit, I will take it one step further and propose a Cafeteria Table hypothesis – if we took our closest friends today, magically went back in time and all became seniors at the same high school — Would it be wrong of me to predict that the majority of us would be sitting at the SAME DAMN TABLE?  I would imagine we’d be jiving, in a more remedial sense of course, about one of our common topics as we plow down one of those plastic trays of round nachos.

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There ain’t no “I” in team…but Wide Receiver has “I” twice.

Football has to be my favorite sport.  There exists a deep complexity and strategy that co-mingles with brutal strength and force, all coalescing in a grid iron chess match.  Whenever I begin to explain my beloved sport, my father’s words—best I recall them, for I was tike—come to mind. As basic as it may sound, football is the ultimate team sport.  

Each position has an assignment and responsibility.  Some may seem more important than others; some are definitely higher profile; but in the end, if each position doesn’t take care of his individual task, the entire unit breaks down.  The team that does the better job and handles their cumulative tasks wins the battle between the whistles.

However, one thing that I have observed lately in my beloved sport is that many Wide Receivers have become greater than the game…not to mention the team.  I guess I find it troubling of any sport (or anything in general) when an athlete thinks he is greater than the history of the sport; when a president believes he is greater than the office and people he was elected to represent; or a musician behaves like he invented music and anoints himself king (not saying any names…Kanye!).

No matter how successful and great a player may be, how extraordinarily gifted he/she is, one must always acknowledge and be humble enough to know where they stand vis-à-vis  the larger scope of history and tradition of his/her trade.  Grated, that greatness—in any arena—can easily lead to an over-zealous ego and skewed perception…but, at best, any spectacular individuals add history versus an attempt at eclipsing it.

So what is it with wide receivers?  Why can’t they just shut up and play the game?  Maybe it’s one of the only positions out there on an “island,” one-on-one, beat your man and you score.  Perhaps, on running plays, they feel relatively obscure and don’t feel part of the play.  Still, they are just one piece of the puzzle; if not for their offensive line holding its blocks, the running back and tight ends selling the underneath routes, the quarterback making accurate reads so he can deliver the perfect strike…then the T.O.s and Ocho Cincos of the world wouldn’t have any balls to catch. 

But still, why the whole “Look at me, look at me!!” attitude? Why the antics after scoring?  Score a TD and do a little dance…don’t run for the pom poms, a hidden cell phone, or a sharpie.  It might be cliché but why can’t you act like you’ve been there before?  More so, don’t be a wide receiver — be a football player.  If you want to cry, dance, flop around, pout and play the role of prima donna… go be a futbol player.

Allow me explain what a wide receiver who is a football player first is about…better yet – I’ll let Hines Ward do it.

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