I just wanted to let you know that I’m going to be on hiatus from my blog for a little while. The reason is because I’m on a deadline with my editor for my India book. I plan on naming the book, Poking the Sleep Tiger. If you would like to read the first chapter, you can follow the link here.
Thanks for your support, and I will be back shortly.
Ok, I admit it. I watch The Biggest Loser. I’ll even admit that sometimes it makes me cry. The people on the show can be so inspirational. But last night’s show really pissed me off. If you don’t watch the show, I’ll give you a very brief update.
One couple on the show, Adrian and Daphne, got sent home on their very first day. They were told that if they lost 50 lbs combined in 30 days, they would be able to come back on the show. Well Daphne lost 25 lbs. and Adrian lost 34 lbs., so they got to come back to the ranch.
As soon as they were placed on their perspective teams, the bitching began.
Two girls on the red team named Conda and Kim, didn’t like Adrian right away. They both felt like he was lying about how much he worked out at home. Then Conda started taking conversations out of context and began spreading rumors about Adrian. She then complained about him constantly to anyone who would listen and was really being a raging, immature bitch.
Why am I explaining all this to you? The reason is because the Condas of the world can destroy a good team. Whether it’s in sports or at work, a Conda will keep people tense and keep the team separated into groups or cliques. This will ultimately destroy the team. And I’m going to go out on a limb and say that the red team will not be winning this season.
So just for today, if someone starts being negative by gossiping and bitching about other people, please tell them, “Stop being a Conda.”
If they ask, “What does that mean?”
Just respond with, “A girl who’s a gossipy bitch.” And believe me, it will work better if the offender is a guy.
Most of you know that I’ve been working on a memoir about my trip to India for five years now. Well I’m happy to report that I only have two sections left before I pass it on to my editor.
I thought I’d give you a preview of the first chapter. This is going to be long for a blog post, five pages total. So you might not want to read it now. But when you get a chance, take a look at it and tell me what you think.
If I could have picked any place in the world to visit, India would have been one of the last places on my list. Who wants to see a Feed the Children commercial in real life? But my wife’s parents are from India. So when they asked me and my wife Tejal if we wanted to go with them, I lied and said, “Yes, of course we want to go.”
“Well it’s all set. I’m going to India for three weeks. The Colonel approved my two weeks vacation plus he gave me one week leave of absence,” I said to a group of my co-workers working back in the booking area in the St. Charles County jail.
“Wow,” Cpl. Johnson said almost under his breath. “In the 14 years I’ve worked here, I’ve never heard of the Colonel giving a leave of absence for a vacation.”
“Me neither,” replied Crosby, an old-timer who they built the jail around when they opened the place. “How long were you on your knees kissing his ass?”
“Up yours Crosby! You’re just mad because they won’t give you a leave of absence for your broken foot. You old crippled bastard,” I said.
“Well I don’t know why you’d want to go hang out with those towel headed, camel jockeys anyways,” he snapped back. “They all stink! Bastards never take a shower. I smell’em everyday when I walk into the gas station to get my coffee before I come to work. Mother-fuckers need to use some of that deodorant they sell in there, that’s what they need to do.”
“Don’t make me kick your ass Crosby. Besides, I’m going with my wife and her parents for two weddings. Her cousin and her niece are getting married.”
“To each other?” replied Wilson, a smart ass crony of Crosby’s.
“No dumb-ass, two separate weddings,” I said.
“I thought your wife was Indian?” Wilson said.
“She is Indian,” I said looking at him puzzled.
“Then why are you going to India?” he said.
“Because,” pausing to let the information process, “Her. Family. Is. From. India. You fucking idiot!”
“Ohhhhh! I thought she was Indian, like American Indian. You know, feathers, not dots,” Wilson said.
“Wilson, you’re the poster child for why birth control should be encouraged. Remind me to bitch-slap your mother when I see her.”
That’s how most of the conversations went when I worked at the County jail. You had to be thick-skinned and quick witted in order to survive there. If not they would eat you alive. They, being the Officers of course.
Oh sure, the Inmates could be hell too, but they were nothing compared to other Officers. See we had one thing over most Inmates and that one thing was intelligence. Contrary to popular belief, most criminals are not the geniuses you see on TV. In the criminal world, the people who are in jail are the unsuccessful criminals. When you pick crime as a career path, getting caught and going to jail is like being fired and unemployed in the real world.
Even the best citizens go to jail every once in a while. Some guys get a DWI or maybe get into an argument with their wife and the police get called for being too loud. But these guys learn from their mistakes and don’t do it again.
When you work at a county jail, there’s Inmates that you deal with all the time. They’re the one’s who get arrested, get out, get rearrested again and repeat the process over and over again. These are the guys who were last in line when God was handing out brains. No, it was definitely the Officers you had to worry about more.
Wilson then said, “Hey Wallace, why don’t we keep mamas out of this? And I’ll keep this,” gyrating his hips back and forth, doing pelvic thrusts, “out’cha mama!”
“Wilson, your dick’s so small that if you even showed it to my mama, she’d think you were offering her a little cocktail weenie. She’d probably even ask you where’s the toothpick at?”
“Weak! That was weak Wallace,” Wilson said.
“Not as weak as your wife was last night after I left her ass in your bed,” I said. “By the way, how’s your wife and my two kids doing?”
“Alright now! That shit’s not funny! Don’t start with that wife thing again,” Wilson yelled.
“Oh shut the fuck up!” Crosby jumped in the discussion. “You sensitive little pussy. Grow a dick for God’s sake! You work at a fucking jail! Inmates are going to say shit like that all the time. You better learn to let it roll off you. You don’t see Wallace getting all upset when I tell him he writes like shit do ya?”
“Hey! I thought you like my stories?” I said a little hurt.
“Eh! I just said that so you wouldn’t go off crying like a little girl,” Crosby said.
“Yeah right! I heard you laughing when you read them,” I snapped back.
“I was laughing at you, and how you write like a five year old. My little grand-daughter can write better than you,” Crosby said playfully.
“Crobsy your grand-daughter is forty-five years old and has a law degree; you old crow!”
“Well that’s true,” Crosby said matter-of-factly, “But I’m not lying right? She can write better than you.”
And that’s how we passed the time working in the jail; honing our cut-down skills, each one of us trying to top the other. Swearing and spewing insults like a river, never letting up and never really trying either. It just came naturally. That is if you were a good Officer.
If you weren’t a good Officer you kept things pent up. You used what little power you were given to take things out on the Inmates. You lost you temper constantly. You yelled and screamed at everyone. You were a target for ridicule. And you took your day home with you, which was rule number one for being a good Officer—leave your day at the door when you walk out. Otherwise you’d turn into a cynical, hard, sloppy drunk.
Whether you were a good or bad Officer, most of us wanted to do something else. But for some reason, we couldn’t leave. We were stuck in a trap. Broken in some way. And after 25 years of working in this crazy environment you didn’t want to end up like so may other broken Officers, with your own gun barrel stuck in your mouth. Sucking on the steel right before you blew your brains out, like so many other Officers have done.
But that wasn’t us. That wasn’t our, “little family”. We all had dreams. This was just our, “transition job,” even if we had been there for six years, or twenty six, as in some cases. And we made sure that anyone around our little, “circle of trust,” was like us: fun, thick-skinned, quick witted, unmotivated, unapologetic and not afraid to fight. That was our definition of being a good Officer.
Yesterday was Martin Luther King Jr. Day. A “friend” of mine on Facebook wrote, “Happy James Earl Ray Day everybody!”
To which I responded with, “They say, ‘Ignorance is bliss,’ and if that’s true, you must be one of the most blissful guys on the planet.”
Well the gloves came off with that comment and we went straight to texting each other.
He basically asked me, “What’s your problem?”
I said, “I just wrote what I felt at the time. There is so much history there. And there’s a certain connotation behind what you wrote, that I felt I needed to say that.”
We went back and forth a few times, but I know I hurt his feelings calling him out in public, so I apologized for that. But here’s the thing, this person is very close to me and his comment hurt me on so many levels that I know his twenty three year old mind didn’t understand.
To me, it seemed that he was celebrating the assassination of the most celebrated civil rights leader in American history—instead of celebrating his life and work. I know for him it was just a joke. But it wasn’t funny to me.
I remember being about twelve or thirteen years old the first time I heard someone say to me, “Ignorance is bliss.” But I thought it was a compliment.
I remember being about fifteen or sixteen the next time I heard the phrase and I told the person, “I know when people say that it’s not really a compliment. But I don’t know why unless you tell me.”
I don’t really remember what the particular situation was about. But what I do remember is once the person explained it to me, my perspective changed and I had a paradigm shift. Once you see someone else’s point of view and it resonates deep within you, and you see why your original thoughts were wrong, you can’t go back to believing in what you did before.
I know I didn’t explain myself this well while we were texting back and forth. But I hope he gets the message now. And I hope he has a paradigm shift of his own.
Feel free to comment: Have you ever had to call someone you really cared about out in public? Or have you ever had a paradigm shift of your own that you’d like to share?
How can I focus one thing when I have so much I want to do? What makes it really hard is I have even more stuff that I don’t want to do, but have to.
Right now I’m working a full-time job as law enforcement trainer. I also have three websites that I’m messing around with—all with different topics and goals. On top of that, I’m trying to finish editing the last three chapters of my book that I’ve been working on for almost five years. (Which is way too long to work on any topic that’s not a PhD dissertation.)
Let’s not forget that I’m married and have a two year old, which I love, but still…
Oh, and I almost forgot, I also have a rental house that’s been unoccupied for the last three months because my tenants destroyed it and it’s being rehabbed right now…and on and on and on…
So how do you choose what you want to focus on?
I am very good at starting things before other things are finished. I like to say I have a creative mind, but when projects don’t get finished, what have I really accomplished?
So this month I’m setting two goals. The first is to get my house rentable. The second goal, to finish my edits for my book so I can get it sent off to my editor. That’s it, nothing else. And once those two things are done, I can start moving on to another project.
Have you stretched yourself too thin lately? Did you make a New Year’s Resolution that you have already dropped the ball on?
It’s a new year, but we are far enough into it for you to have fallen back into old habits. If you have, let this be your wakeup call. Take it from me; you don’t want to be working on the same project five New Year Resolutions from now.
As I’ve gotten older, I have started to realize that maybe my elders are on to something. Some of the sayings that they say are starting to make sense now.
For instance, my Grandma has always said, “Don’t do anything on the first of the year that you don’t want to do all year long.”
Since writing is one of the things I’d like to do all year long, I thought I’d write a quick post.
2011 was one of the roughest years I’ve ever had, financially anyway. But I plan on changing that this year. My wife accepted a new job that I hope works out for her.
I plan on getting my book published this year. I’m two weeks away from my self-imposed deadline of finishing my final draft before I send it off to my new editor. I also plan on working with a Internet marketing coach this year to help get one of my three websites off the ground.
I know that my Grandma is right. Doing something that you want to do on the first of the year is a good start for the rest of the New Year. Now I have just 364 more days to go. (Actually, it’s 365 more days this year because it’s a leap year.) I guess that means I’ll have to do this writing thing again tomorrow.
Good luck to you on whatever your new endeavors are for 2012. Take it day by day and work on whatever you want consistently this year and I’m sure by this time next year, you’ll be well on your way.
George Carlin was one of the most influential comedians of the 20th century. Looking back on it, he is one of the first “blue” comedians that I remember watching and thinking, This guy gets it. His outlook on life has influenced me and my writing tremendously.
In this clip, Carlin discusses God, the planet, and “Your ticket to the freakshow. And if you live in America, you’ve got a front row seat.”
If you’re getting this in your inbox, you can just click here to watch the video. If you’re reading this on my page, just click the play arrow on the screen.
–Looking for parking and
almost getting hit by a
silver Chevy Tahoe that’s
backing out and
looking the wrong direction
down a one-way lane
–Grabbing a cart that’s
stuck together and
pinching the fleshy-part
in between my thumb
–Pushing the cart with a
behind a black-lady with a
thin white sundress with a
ass as big as her cart is sideways
wearing a bright orange thong,
hair still in curlers,
who’s bending over to grab the
onions on the bottom shelf
–Two screaming kids
hitting and kicking each other while
their mom talks on her cell phone
and to the Deli-counter girl
at the same time
–Getting to the check out line and
having all lanes closed
–standing behind ten
carts piles high and hearing
grumbling, grunts and groans
–Leaving the cart in aisle 9
as I walk out the door
It’s been almost one month since I’ve written anything on my blog. It’s hard to feel creative when there has been so much going on. I’ll give you a brief recap.
My mom took me, my wife and my two year old daughter to Disney World for a week. That trip was followed by another one to Chicago to visit my sister-in-law and a high school friend from Hawaii.
When we returned from Chicago, my wife got a new job after being out of work for a year. This would seem like a good thing, but my daughter’s baby-sitter doesn’t accept kids at her house until 7:15 am. Well, it used to be 7:30 am but she changed it to 7:15 am for us. Regardless, I had to move my hours at work back by one hour and fifteen minutes. So now I’m hitting prime-time traffic hours going to and from work, and my exercise time has been thrown out the window.
Now I can skip working out, that’s not a big deal, but a week after my wife finally getting a new job, our tenants from our rental house decided to move out. Not only did they not give us any notice, but they also trashed the place. They had three Boxers and the house smells like a dog kennel that hasn’t been cleaned in two years.
My tenants also left everything they didn’t want inside the house. They left the refrigerator door open twice, trying to burn out the compressor. And when I changed the door locks, they broke in the back steel door, took their lawn mower and weed eater, then they left the freezer door open and turned the air conditioner on as cold as it could get.
When I told the police about the situation, they said they couldn’t prove it was them. And when I told them that my tenants sent me a text message saying they’d get their stuff anyway they could, and I still had the message on my phone, the police said, we couldn’t prove that it was them who actually sent the text.
Now all these things in themselves wouldn’t be so bad. I caught all their misgivings in the nick of time. The worst part about the whole situation is my tenants had a leaky pipe in the bathroom that they didn’t tell me about. The water leaked down into the basement and molded the whole downstairs. So now I have to get a crew in there to rip everything out and fix it.
When all these types of things happen to you at once, you don’t feel very creative. It’s hard to sit down and think of something funny to write. This has been one of the most stressful times of my life. But one of the things I’ve learned is, it’s alright to take a break. Sometimes you have to regroup. And now that I have things somewhat under control, I’m back to doing what I love. I hope your last month was better mine.