Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Adults That Intimidate Me or Make Me Feel Uncomfortable

I live on my own, have a successful career and am a mature adult (at least most of the time.) But there are still other adults that make me second guess myself, question my instincts, and either frighten me, intimidate me, or make me feel uncomfortable.

These are the following people:

THE DENTIST

The dentist may be the only adult I still lie to. When I make my once a year visit, I’m always asked: “how many times a week do you floss?” I’m a grown man, with a job, with purpose, with responsibility, but suddenly I feel like a little boy. I instinctively lie because I don’t want the dentist to yell at me. I also brush my teeth furiously right before the appointment; the goal being that this will trick the dentist into thinking I’m taking care of my teeth. But he knows the truth. I don’t know why I’m so afraid of the dentist, but I know I’m not the only one.

THE BANKING AND FINANCE GUY

As I get older, more people talk about money. It seems everywhere I go, there’s always a group of banking and finance guys. They speak in acronyms, wear blue button down shirts, and make me feel insecure because I have no idea what they’re talking about. But to save face, I nod my head, bitch about the economy, and pretend to be on the same page. I’ll never admit my ignorance because I don’t want to be lectured, teased, or patronized.

THE BOUNCER

Bouncers hate me and I hate them even more. I’ve never met another adult that makes me feel so self-conscious. Here’s something from an old entry:

A picture of me must be presented at the annual Bouncer’s Convention labeled: “Treat him like shit and do not let him in.” No matter where I go, I always seem to have a run-in with one of these muscle heads (my friends know exactly what I’m talking about.) I’m never on the right list, wearing the right clothes, or know the right people.

I try to be friendly and treat the bouncer like a human being: “So how’s the night going? Where are you from? Did you see that game?” Nothing. No response. It’s like they are programmed to be sub-human.

I try to keep my cool as hot chicks cut me in line. I guess it makes sense; they’re hot. But when I see D-bags with gelled hair and gold chains skip in front of me, that’s when I start to lose it.

When it’s finally my turn to enter the club, I have to deal with being judged by the bouncer. I endure the ridicule as he teases me about my clothes, hair style, and lack of dope jewelry. Sometimes I ignore it, pay the absurd cover, and then walk in. But sometimes they don’t let me in so I snap. I criticize the overgrown man for being narrow-minded and irrationally threaten to sue him and the entire club for sexism. That’s when more bouncers/security guards come out, stare me down, and tell me to go home. As I walk away with my tail between my legs, one thought comes to mind…

I am a Bouncist. I have no problems with people of different ethnicities, races, sexual orientation, age, height, or religion. But I do have a problem with bouncers. It is not fair to stereotype or generalize, but all bouncers are evil and terrible people. I am a full-fledged Bouncist. I think bad thoughts about them and if there were rallies against bouncers, I would probably attend. Maybe I am ignorant. Maybe there are nice bouncers out there. But until I meet one, I am committed to my beliefs, and will embrace my bouncism.

THE COP

Many people become cops in order to intimidate people. Well, it works on me. I probably have an issue with authority (hence, several of the people on this list.) I get scared when a cop comes towards me or even looks in my direction. Coincidentally, I’ve never had a direct issue with a cop (knock on wood.) Maybe it’s because I’m afraid of them.

One time, a cop approached me on the subway. I didn’t do anything wrong. I had dropped off some of my high school students, and now was just sitting there. But I started to get nervous. Maybe I did something by mistake. I was suddenly sweating. The cop leaned over and I was ready to get reprimanded. Instead, he complimented me for reaching out and helping the kids. I was definitely flattered for just a moment. Then he yelled at someone near me and I became intimidated again.

THE CLEANING LADY

I’m a pretty messy guy. I occasionally make my bed and put away the dishes, but normally, I’m very lazy (just ask past and present roommates.) The only day I feel a sense of urgency is the hours before the cleaning lady arrives. (I use the term “cleaning lady” because that’s all I know. I’ve never met a cleaning dude, but maybe they exist as well.)

Suddenly, my bed is made, my clothes are folded, and the kitchen counter is spotless. It’s a subconscious act that clearly makes no sense. Her job is to CLEAN the place, but for some reason, I have to clean beforehand and make it presentable. The last thing I want is for the cleaning lady to arrive and judge me. She has a special power that cannot be explained.

THE CLOWN
















These things freaked me out even before I saw Stephen King’s It. I remember once staying in a hotel decorated with clown statues; they were everywhere! I don’t who the hell would do this, but it scared the crap out of me. I thought these things were gonna spring to life and attack me in my sleep. What were my parents thinking…why would we stay at this place?

I was frightened of clowns as a kid, and I’m still frightened today. I won’t even go to the circus. I am clown-phobic.

THE BETTER ATHLETE

I was jogging the other day, and this bastard zipped right by me. My instincts immediately kicked in and I picked up the pace (much like a dog chasing a car.) I passed him for a moment. And then he caught up again. Then we were side by side. Finally, he shifted into high gear and was gone. I ate his dust, and hung my head in shame.

No matter how old I am, I hate losing in sports. I cried when I lost as a kid, and I cry when I lose now. I’m pretty good at sports, but for every court, field or track I’m on, there’s always gonna be someone that’s better.

Sometimes, when I lose, I make excuses like: I wasn’t trying, I’m too old, or I’m hungover. But in the end, there are just a lot of really good athletes out there. These athletes force me to question my athletic ability, confidence, and work ethic.

Sure, they make me try harder, and dig deeper, but they also make me lose so I don’t like them very much.

THE BOSS

I’ve been fortunate to have some pretty good bosses over the years (Yes, I am kissing up. I don’t know who’s reading this.) But even around the best boss, I am very self-conscious.

When I’m around the boss, I feel like the FCC is in my brain censoring every joke that pops into my mind. It’s one thing to crack up the boss, but it’s another thing to offend him/her. As a result, I tend to tiptoe around the boss, and talk about mundane things such as the weather, good lunch spots, or vacation plans. I do not talk about which co-workers I think are hot or what I really did on my vacation in Vegas. As a result, I can never fully be myself.

THE CELEBRITY & THE HOT WOMAN

I put these adults in the same section because they both make me react the same way: like an idiot. I desperately want to talk to them, but I don’t know what to say. I rehearse my speech, and awkwardly make an advance. No matter how great my speech sounds in my head, it always comes off horribly. The celebrity/hot woman feels uncomfortable, and prays that I stop talking to them. For some reason, I don’t.

I sweat, turn red with embarrassment, and continue to trip over my words. Eventually, the celebrity/hot woman retreats, and then my friends make fun of me.

Then I take that story, and put it into my blog. (Larry David, Matt Groening, Eliza Dushku, Hank Azaria, Seth Rogen)

THE SALESMAN

I don’t care if it’s for a car, a pair of jeans, or for a charity, please stay away from me. My heart pounds in fear any time a salesman comes into my general direction. It could be a simple “Hi, how are you?” and I already start to freak out.

And I never know who’s really out to help me or who is gonna rip me off. Plus, they’re gonna force me to make a choice about something. I hate that. I’d prefer if they just left me alone.

As far as dealing with Greenpeace, these people are hawks. They eye you as you walk towards them, and get ready to pitch their latest world saving speech. The first few times I crossed their path, I was sucked into 15 minute conversations that were just the worst. But I eventually learned to avoid them by using my cell phone. I’ve created a 3 minute conversation template where I pretend to talk to someone on the other line. After 2 minutes, they usually stop following me. And for one minute, I get to act cool like someone actually called me.

So far, so good.

Friday, June 18, 2010

The Underdog is Dead

Several years ago I was in Las Vegas for a bachelor party. I tagged along with my older brother and his friends who were six years older than me. The weekend was filled with booze and debauchery, but only one memory stuck in my mind.

One day, we were sitting by the pool, and I met a beautiful girl named Jackie. We talked and flirted, and flirted and talked. We sat in the hot tub, and shared some drinks and laughs. I somehow maintained eye contact despite her revealing bikini. I was completely on. I got her number, and we made plans to meet up later.

My brother and his friends treated me like a hero that day. How did I do that? I have no idea. I was just an ordinary nice guy and somehow managed to score an incredibly hot girl’s number.

But once the sun set, everything changed. Jackie and her friends met up with our group at a club. She was a wearing tight jeans and a loose tank top. Damn, she looked good.

And that’s when Tim noticed her. Although Tim didn’t look it, he was the player of the group. He was the smooth talker; the one who always got the girl. He immediately sniffed her out and was on the prowl. She laughed at his jokes and they flirted. My day’s work seemed to vanish from her memory banks.

Throughout the night, there was a back and forth. She’d have a drink with me, and then a dance with Tim; a gambling session with me, and then a conversation with Tim.

I turned to my brother and his friends and asked: “Do I have a chance?” They laughed and shook their head: “Don’t you know who you’re dealing with? He’s the favorite. You’re the underdog. You don’t stand a chance.”

But I didn’t give up. I tried everything: I bought Jackie drinks, made her laugh, taught her blackjack. And Tim just sat their cool, calm, and confident. When she disappeared for the night, I figured I’d continue the competition tomorrow.

I shrugged my shoulders and walked back to my room calling it a night. When I opened the door, that’s when reality slapped me in the face. Jackie and Tim and were breaking the bed together. I shielded my eyes, and slammed the door shut.

A devastating loss for the underdog.

NBA FINALS, GAME 7











That’s how I felt last night as I watched the favorite LA Lakers win the NBA finals.

As a long time Boston fan, my heart and soul was riding on this game. But I was watching as more than just a fan.

The Boston Celtics were the #4 seed. They were too fat (Big Baby Shrek) Too short (Donkey Nate.) And too damn old (almost the entire team.)

And the Los Angeles Lakers had the best player in the world, the best coach in the world, and the better athletes.

LA was Tim. And I was the Boston Celtics.

And once again, the underdog succumbed to the favorite.

The Celtics had a solid lead in Game 7 (and in the series), but they just couldn’t finish. They were completely spent by the 4th quarter and were hanging on by a thread. Playing without their starting center Kendrick Perkins, they still competed with heart and determination. They got killed on the boards, but they didn’t hang their head. Instead, they scrambled for loose balls and hustled on every play. They played vicious defense and made Kobe Bryant look like Ron Artest. Unfortunately, Ron Artest somehow morphed into Kobe Bryant, and the Lakers came through in the end.

The Celtics overachieved the entire playoffs. Most picked them to lose in the 2nd round, and some doubted they could even knock off the Heat in the 1st. But the Celtics slowed down the Flash; dethroned the King; and then used kryptonite on Superman. Their last showdown was with the Black Mamba. Their journey sounded like a video game or a sub plot from Lost.

The Celtics beat teams with the best players because they had the players with the best team. They came together. They united. They played on grit, determination, heart, and leadership. Doc Rivers tried every trick in the book to motivate this team (have you read the money in the ceiling story?)  And it worked. They were one.

Then they finally faced a foe that learned from them. The Lakers didn’t play as a team until they had to. They didn’t try until they had to. They hadn’t been challenged the entire playoffs. They strutted with confidence and arrogance. They were the prototypical favorite.

It wasn’t until their backs were against the wall for the first time ever, did they realize if they wanted to win, they needed to play as a team. The backbreaker for game 7 wasn’t from Kobe. It was from Fisher, Artest, Gasol, and Vujacic.

The Lakers learned at just the right time. And even though the Celtics knew from the beginning that it took teamwork to win, it just didn’t matter in the end.

Because the favorite always wins.

Year in Review
















It seems like the entire sports year has gone to the favorite. There are no underdogs anymore. There are no Rudys, Rockys, and Hickorys. There are only the Tims, the Lakers, the Dukes, and the Yankees. I made a good run back in the day and so did Butler, the Celtics, and whoever the Yankees play. But in the end, it doesn’t matter. Heart and determination doesn’t matter anymore.

The Lakers were the straws that broke the underdog’s back. It was as if Kobe Bryant and the Lakers took a cute, little puppy—the underdog— slashed its throat, and pressed it against the camera for all to see.

It was nauseating.

I wish my life didn’t revolve around sports. I wish I didn’t take these games so personally, but I do. The average male life span is 77 years-old. The average male life span of a sports fan is 70 years-old. The average life span of a Boston sports fan is 35. The small town of Boston is in the sports news every single year. There’s always a big game. And those big games wear us down. I’m exhausted. Sometimes, I wish I rooted for the Lions, or the Clippers, or the Royals. And then I wouldn’t have to endure the pain of losing when it mattered; the agony of getting so close and then failing.

Whether it’s a Boston team or an underdog, my heart is displayed for all to see. I joked with a friend that I was wagering my left kidney on the series. If the Lakers win, I lose it. If the Celtics win, I get nothing except the satisfaction of winning.

I lost again last night. Just like that time in Vegas.

I shouldn’t be surprised anymore. The favorite always comes out on top.

Because the underdog is dead.