On Being A Girl

 

Note: This post is for all the wishy-washy ladies out there. The I-don’t-know-what-I-want-to-eat-so-I’ll-just-have-two-of-everything types. The I-don’t-know-what-to-wear-so-I’ll-wear-jeans-and-a-dress-because-this-is-all-just-too-much sorts.

It’s for the women who have a damned hard time deciding on much of anything at all. It is meant to band together those of us whom struggle our way through simple tasks, and unite us in our shared cluelessness and confusion. (This post is not, however, meant to encourage anyone to purchase “The Struggle Is Real” t-shirts, because this slogan has gone too far and I hope we all agree that these shirts are stupid.)

Before I continue, it should be acknowledged that not all girls are so…easily challenged. If you are a different sort of girl, that is all very well and good. Should you consider yourself decisive, confident, and a non-sweater of small stuff, you will find that this post does not speak to you. In all likelihood, you will find the writing to be melodramatic and irrelevant. I want you to know that I hear you sisters, and I am not offended!

It always feels good to get the disclaimer out of the way.

Now, where were we?

Sometimes, us girls are unintentionally confident. Like when we show up to Trader Joe’s in nearly translucent leggings, and grocery shop as if we are in anything other than skin-tight clothing. We scan the produce aisles, shamelessly fondling fruit, oblivious to the fact that the curve of our butt and upper and lower leg is very much on display. Our leggings are perhaps more noticeable than the newly imported exotic fruit section (Chinese kumquats and African aloe!), but we are truly and genuinely unaware. We assume that because we aren’t trying, we aren’t noticed.

Other times, our confidence wanes. We role-play the part of “pretty” at a friend’s wedding, and do the necessary (makeup, painted nails, straightened hair…insert beauty routine of choice). From a distance, it is determined that we clean up nicely and, really, we are unmistakably presentable. When we arrive at the wedding, we find that we are in a sea of other well-groomed females, most of whom have intimidatingly large hair and perfected pouts. We pretend that we fit in, but we can’t shake the feeling that deep down, this is all just an act.

Sometimes, rather than risk failing, we deliberately flop. It’s like purposely sabotaging an otherwise beautiful photo of your girlfriends by making the most grotesque face possible. We would rather look ugly on purpose than accidentally look meh.

Being quasi-confident is confusing to the majority of those around us, because it doesn’t quite make sense. We offer straightforward opinions in some instances, and noncommittal “half-answers” on other occasions. Innocent questions such as “What do you want to drink?” become monumental road blocks that render us dysfunctional. Rather than have our internal havoc be observed by annoyed friends and impatient wait staff, we would prefer to crawl into an underground hole while we sit and have a think. At least until last call.

Well-intentioned folks will suggest that we go with our gut, which is the politically correct way of suggesting we make up our damn minds. It is commonly offered advice that does nothing at all to help the decision-maker in distress. Perhaps it’s high time we switch to a more useful expression. Anyone know of anything that works? If you hear something, say something.

Anyhow, this is all just to say that ladies, if you are like me in any way, let it be known! Let us help one another get out of our indecisive ruts and micro-sweats (aka sweating small stuffs) and agree to unlearn these bad habits. If we abandon our obsession with getting it right, we could learn to feel content.

Shamed Into Silence: The Story of a Loud Nose-Blower

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Dear Modern-Day Society,

I’m writing to propose the creation of safe spaces for loud nose-blowers.

As loud nose-blowers, we are the ostracized majority. Despite making up the masses of society, we live in a world that prefers individuals who blow their noses softy and quietly. We are safest only in our own homes to blow as we please. Stick with me here. Outside our homes, we are forced to silence ourselves. We muffle the sounds of allergens and illness, and for whom? For the untrustworthy, soft-blowing minority. I’m writing to share my outrage, and I sincerely hope that together, we can take a stand.

I’ve always been an audible, but well-controlled, nose-blower. When it’s time to clear my nasal passages, I trust my nose’s instincts, and act accordingly. I don’t hold back. I do not mean to offend with the sound it produces, it just comes. I have come to expect this sound, as I associate it with a job well done. If I’m to blow my nose and produce no noise at all, I know there’s more work to do. This is all simply the natural physiological by-product of my body and I getting to know one another these past thirty years. When the nose knows, I oblige.

Now, keeping this context in mind, it should be no wonder that I do not trust soft nose-blowers. There’s something about making an occasionally violent act appear dainty that just rubs me the wrong way. If you are quietly blowing your nose-just a quick sniff into a tissue-how can you possibly be certain you’re done? Don’t you ever feel compelled to try, just a little bit harder, to produce contents of value? It is my suspicion that these people are, in general, under-performers. They set themselves up to complete tasks, and abandon them part way through.

I want to be clear by saying that I’m not suggesting we all try to blow our noses in loud and shrill ways. You all know the people who sneeze at such unbelievably high decibels, it’s impossible to believe the sound is not grossly exaggerated. Those people are over-compensating for something, and we won’t be discussing them here. What I’m simply suggesting is that we, as a society, collectively join together to create a world in which loud nose-blowers are not shamed into silence. If we stand together-if we organize-we might be able to send a real message.

If you are part of the loud nose-blowing majority, but have felt shamed or humiliated into blowing your nose softly and quietly in the corner of a conference room and then, when asked if you’re finished, sheepishly replied, “Yes, that’ll be all…” if you are one of those people, I urge you to be in touch. Together, we can let it be known that no one controls our bodies but us! This is a nose’s (nonviolent) call to arms: it’s time to act!

 

Regards,

Smaps

Protein Bars, Hot Yoga and Other Sweaty Things

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We are intelligent, but easily fooled. We oscillate between fastidious participation in fads, and ironic disengagement from them. We are seduced by words like protein, paleo and Cross-Fit. We find these compulsions sexy, and therefore, worth our time / financial investment. Without thinking, we become tantalized by messaging. In falsely presuming that the advertised ingredient will better our lives, we succumb to consumerist urges- buying not one but two of the thing believed to transform our otherwise humdrum day-to-days.

While there is significant appeal in such teasers, the thing-in and of itself-is unlikely to wield any grand transformation of self. Just as purchasing a gym membership doesn’t guarantee a better bod, buying nice things doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll look or feel any better than you did before. In fact, I’d wager a guess that you’ve never felt sexier than when you changed straight into sweatpants, after a day spent solely in skinny jeans. My point is that things aren’t always as they seem, so pay attention to the nuances. Some will be carefully disguised, but with proper investigation, the subtleties will become easier to distinguish.

The person you are on paper should sound good. After all, when you’ve run low on books, your life’s story is one you should feel compelled to read. But who you are on paper-the boxes you check, the qualifications you list- will only ever be so impressive. The people who know you best will always be capable of deciphering the myth behind each bullet point on your resume. Make it a point to transform your life’s nouns into verbs. Only through the manifestation of doing and acting will your life take on any real meaning.

Think about things, long and hard, but then act upon those things. Don’t be afraid that you are anywhere other than where you’re supposed to be. On the whole, we are a friendly bunch (I believe this), but we tend to be strangely competitive against one another. Many would argue that competition is healthy- it keeps us on our toes. I get that. But I also find that the more concerned we are with comparisons, the more likely we are to render ourselves (or others) inadequate.

The more focus paid to others around us, the less likely we are to observe our own growth. So fixated we are on the uncontrollable, we feel disempowered when things do not go our way. This creates an unwelcome cycle of envy and distrust. Rather than obsess over perceived inequities, best we opt for being grateful.

Rethinking the “Real World” Experience

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Today I jumped headfirst into the depths of nostalgia. I swam through history and waded through old memory with a familiar, thoughtful grace. I touched down upon a floor filled with recognizable relics, and grazed gently against the pieces of my past.

This sea of recollection filled me with the sense that it had all happened “just yesterday,” though a discernible distance had wedged itself into my mind, distinguishing past memory from present moment. I stumbled upon written exchanges with friends and sensed the unmistakable enthusiasm that had defined my youth. I discussed love and life with confidence and passion, unconcerned with the fact that I was a novice on such matters. As a young person, there was no expectation that I be wise. My naiveté protected me from having to explain myself.

It felt good to talk often of big ideas and future plans, for they were the very things that kept me tethered to my dreams. Without such thoughts, I would be grounded in reality, forced to look only at that which my eyes could see. Society ascribes a particular pessimism to the notion of the “real world.” The real world is referenced casually, like a bad habit. It’s something that we are forced to endure, despite its tendency to be both exhausting and cruel.

The real world, as commonly understood, is viewed as an inevitable misfortune. Through our own collective acceptance, we have designated such a world to represent the things which we most loathe. We say that this world is defined by 40+ hour work weeks, taxes, health insurance, mortgages, child care expenses, deadlines and checking accounts. “Back to the real world” is a common expression, indicating a return to the things we least enjoy.

I wonder if it is possible to shift this mindset, and reconstruct our notion of what it means to really live. If we expanded upon our understanding of real life, could we begin to feel greater fulfillment from our everyday? My inclination is to say yes. If we stopped pretending that real life is something to be feared and dreaded, we could begin to enjoy more of its simple pleasures.

According to Buddhist philosophy, suffering is inextricably linked with the human experience. No matter how hard you try, you cannot separate suffering from real life. I share this mantra, but I also believe that it would be foolish to mistake the anguish we willingly subject ourselves to-due to our own misconceptions of reality-as being representative of the type of suffering the Buddhists refer to. Certain hardships in life exist outside of our own control; I can accept this. For many other of life’s challenges, though, there is space for ownership and self-command. There exists an opportunity to intervene before it’s too late. To pour a different mold before our entire life path is set out to dry.

Seizing upon such opportunities is important, particularly for those of us who find ourselves wanting more from the life we live. Should we choose to reorient our lives towards greater meaning, reward will likely follow. Contentment and acceptance will step out from the shadows, for unbeknownst to us, they were there the whole time.

The Art of Having Fun

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Fun is best understood in three ways. First, you plan the fun. You anticipate it. You sip beers and brainstorm ideas. You conjure up brilliant plans—tales of escape—and you devise ways to turn fantasy into reality.  You think of all the places you’d want to go in the world if time or money were of no concern, and you plot out those places on your scratch and sniff map. You have a couple more beers and you start thinking what better time than now. You book flights that night.

Nothing beats the anticipation of a good time. Arguably, even having the fun sometimes can’t compare to the joy that comes from simply thinking about fun things. But the next step comes after the planning stage. The next stage of fun includes actually doing the thing you’ve set out to do. This second stage can’t be faulted. You go on the journey, see some live music, dance like you just don’t give a damn, immerse yourself in the unknown, and travel to the depths of your soul. It is here where you discover a fresher, more revitalized sense of yourself. You meet this person, and fall in love. You wish he/she would drop by more often.

The final stage of fun is the reliving part. After anticipating and having the fun, you recreate the highlights over and over again. You put the best of moments on repeat, and spend your post-fun days reminiscing on that which once was. You peruse old photos and read through past journal entries. You reach out to those who were with you at the time the fun was had. You send texts or emails. Make out of the blue phone calls. Anything to connect to those involved in your fun quest, and send a small “thanks” to those who rendered fun possible.

After the days have passed, you will quickly find yourself back to square one. Note, this doesn’t have to be a bad square; it’s just an ordinary one. You will find that your routines have quickly tracked you down. Your old habits, mannerisms and ways will find you, even though you deceptively thought your new self was undiscoverable. You will behave much as you always did, and your day-to-day will pick up much as it had before.

If your routines served you well in the past, there is no harm in returning to them. To the places and people whom you love and that help to fill your cup. But this time, when you return, you will always keep one foot slightly higher off the ground. This slight pep in your step will unmistakably differentiate you from your past, and you will find that the revitalization you experienced during the fun has uplifted you ever so much. You are now lighter and calmer.

With your new and uplifted self, you will stay open to new opportunity. You will welcome the chance for adventure. You will embrace human contradiction, and become a cautious risk-taker. You will find that if you try just a little, you can be a pretty good time.

 

What Taekwondo Taught Me About Hard Work

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I’ll give you a hint: perseverance.

I never knew how tempting it was to give up, until I worked really hard. Throughout the last few months, graduate school has forcibly escorted me through some emotional times. And by some, I mean several. By several, I mean on the daily. You get the idea.

At some point along the way, my thoughts on school began to shift. The feeling in me changed from initial excitement to having been accepted into the program, to disappointment at having been subjected to it. The long hours, the infrequent breaks, the constant, never-ending stream of studying which awaited my every waking moment. It’s been, to put it mildly, unreal.

I feel like normal stress-the good, or at least tolerable kind-allows some space for head clearing.  Normal stress feels like a pain in the ass-like the guest who continues to hang out at your house despite everyone else having gone home and you suddenly find yourself cleaning, not because you’re bothered by the mess, but because you’d rather do anything than continue to entertain this person. But the thing with normal stress is that it gets tired of being the bad guy. Normal stress takes breaks every once in a while, because even normal stress has to pee.

Last semester’s stress was not normal. It did not pause to clear its throat, use the loo, or get a breath of fresh air. Instead, it rather torturously demanded a sort of super-human attention. It was not just your needy girlfriend; it was her psychotic, insecure, calls you at the same time she’s ringing your doorbell evil twin. The stress demanded all of my focus, and wasn’t satisfied until I said, “Okay, you win. I will no longer sleep.”

The semester asked for everything I’ve got, and then some. It beat me down repeatedly, and each time I’d regain my footing, it would knock me down again. Without my knowing, it had me sign on the dotted line of a document which read: “Gone is your life.” Any attempt at establishing a sense of normalcy or routine outside of school was useless and foolhardy. No matter how I tried to pretend I had a control on things, my emotion-laden sleeves were quick to reveal otherwise.

As you can imagine, this kind of stress poses several complications. From the mental toll-sleep-deprived feelings of powerlessness-to the physical-weight gained or lost, new blemishes popping up every which way-last semester’s stress was a new and twisted type of fucked up. Pardon my language. I’m not offended by that word. Unrelenting in its demands, school requested that life, as I once knew it, disappear completely.

Now, at this point I have sufficiently explained my thoughts on this program. If the point is unclear, please refer back to paragraphs 1-6. Reading all of this might beg the question, “But, why? Why put yourself through something so awful, when the outcome of such an experience offers no guarantees?” These would be fair ponderings, and if you were beside me asking such things aloud, I would willfully shake your hand. But the truth is, I don’t have an easy or ready-made answer.

When I begin formulating the “why” in my head, my mind is led in many directions. Why have I ever done anything difficult in my life? Why have I intentionally inflicted suffering upon myself, and what good-if any-came from the experience? I could argue that I’m going through all of this pain and anguish for the good of the people. That I’m suffering to single-handedly improve the state of healthcare in this country. But if I were to proclaim as much, I would surely hope to be challenged, because this reasoning isn’t consistent with the overall truth. All of our life’s actions should take into account the bigger picture, but it is not solely for bigger picture fulfillment that we endure the tough stuff. Sometimes, it’s the very act of overcoming our own modest barriers that provide us with a feeling of purpose and accomplishment.

Although I have come close a number of times, I have yet to quit. My refusal to quit can be assessed from multiple angles, but I’m going to credit a piece of my past in order to shed light on the subject at hand. I’d like to introduce you to Master Yong Sue Rho. Master Rho deserves a bit of praise for his commitment to teaching me life principles long before I could understand what these things meant.

In my former life, Master Rho taught me taekwondo. Besides schooling me in blocks and punches, he taught me a great deal about perseverance. As I bumbled my way through Korean counts of 1-10, and roundhouse-kicked my way up the colored belt chain of command, I learned about patience and hard work. I learned that in order to advance to black belt status, I would have to first acquaint myself with the rainbow (namely yellow, blue and red colored belts).

I haven’t always been good at respecting the rungs of hierarchy, but as a ten-year-old tot practicing tae kwon do, I had no choice but to respect the rules as they were. It was a time in my life, much like school is now, that required I no longer attempt to set my own rules. Martial arts, like graduate school, operates under the assumption that personal sacrifice is the only way towards advancement. Skillfully crafting ways to achieve a life balance is admirable, but in this instance, unlikely to be successful.

While I am beginning to come to terms with this sacrifice, the time trade-off will remain a struggle until the day I graduate. If and when that day comes, I hope to feel stronger and more disciplined than I did a year ago. And one year before that. This program has taught me that while personal boundaries are comforting, it’s not until those boundaries are pushed poked and prodded that a sense of reward is felt.

The bottom line: Hang tight during the hard stuff, in order to see it through. Remember Master Rho’s philosophy, and know that giving up won’t earn you the black belt. Your best bet in times of struggle is to do one thing, and one thing well: persevere.

How to Achieve Life Fulfillment with Ten Simple Steps and a One Time Only Fee of $9.99

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Ten Steps to Fewer Steps

Ever wondered how to put less effort into everything you do?

Follow these Ten Simple Steps to reduce the steps you take in your life by up to 50%. Once you’ve read through these ten simple steps, you will be THREE steps closer to living the life you’ve always dreamed of.

Confused? Don’t be. There is no time like now to start over.

Step #1: Set a low bar.

People may encourage you to set a high bar. They (bosses, mothers, distant relatives) may even demand such. What I’m suggesting is that you advocate for the exact opposite. Tell everyone you know that you refuse to surrender to their societal norms, and introduce them to the low bar that is your new normal. While they may appear puzzled at first, you will convince them by being unwaveringly consistent. Insist that they accept your poor taste and subpar standards. Before long, they will come around to the idea that a low bar is, in fact, better than no bar at all.

Step #2: Do more with less.

Ever come across scintillating snapshots of people having what appears to be so much fun? If you’ve ever come across such photos and thought to yourself “If only this could be me!” I challenge you to think again. Why? Because the pictures are entirely contrived. How do I know? Simple.  According to highly reputable studies, “No one does anything worthwhile anymore. Ever.” (True Story, 2015). Remind yourself that anything resembling cool is actually a superficial sort of construction, staged merely to stroke someone’s swaggering, social media-reinforced ego. When you find yourself bemoaning your unremarkable existence, remind yourself that at least your mediocrity is authentic. You are the average real deal.

Step #3: Downsize, two steps at a time.

The final trick to succeeding in life with fewer steps is to downsize your belongings. In this step, I’m suggesting you go above and beyond your seasonal spring-clean. With step #3, I’m asking that you take everything you own, and place it into a pile in the center of your living room (office/bedroom will also suffice). Once your belongings are assembled, begin removing things from the pile, one at a time, until you are left with only three things. Use these three things to help guide you in figuring out life steps 4-10.

Now, wondering what to do with the rest of your things? If unbroken and/or tolerably useable, consider donating the remainder of your items to your neighbor (or any person who has not yet gotten a hold of these simple life steps). At this point, it’s likely that such a person still believes that things-big, small, shiny and dull-are the key to happiness. Exploit this person’s knowledge deficit by gifting him/her your “treasures” (read: junk), pat yourself on the back and take a deep breath. You have started anew.

UP NEXT: For a small, one-time payment of $4.99, you can gain immediate online access to my new book, “Five Ways To Become Rich and Skinny Overnight By Eating Only Cookie Dough Scented Scones.”

 

 

Trying to find meaning? Perhaps try harder, or not at all.

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Meaning is not something that you can search for. It’s not a player of hide and seek, disguised under wraps somewhere, waiting to be unturned. It is not a location or an unmarked corner of the globe. It will not greet you as you disembark from a plane in a city four thousand miles away, or appear miraculously as you engage in something new. Meaning is not derived from singular events, and no matter how you may wish it so, meaning is not located behind door number two.

If we accept this as fact, and determine that meaning cannot be “discovered” like an island or a treasure map, we are left to wonder whether “searching” for meaning is, itself, a futile endeavor. Whether it is a waste of precious time to look for something that can’t actually be found. It’s a question certainly worth asking, for if we consider our greatest pursuit in life to be that of chasing an unanswerable question, we might conclude it wise to change course. However, abandoning our forever quest—”quitting” our mission in life—would be an uncomfortable and difficult task.

It would be unlike me to give up so easily on a journey that I, myself, have put a great deal of time and energy into understanding. While my school of thought around meaning and purpose has shifted, I have done anything but give up. I ask the same questions I always have (how can I best live a meaningful life?), but pursue the “answers” differently. I have loosened the reigns, and relinquished control. Instead of searching for meaning and waiting for epiphanies, I patiently accept that the whole story—from front to back—cannot be accurately interpreted through the reading of a few select chapters.

Like any good novel, the point of a book isn’t necessarily grasped by reading until the final word. Often, it’s only through time and reflection that we come to derive any meaning at all from a story. This does not mean that the story is unhelpful or ineffective in its presentation—to the contrary, it suggests that the story provided us with an unparalleled sense of depth and richness. The kind of richness that tastes delicious as it’s consumed, and requires time to fully digest.

I do not pretend to have all the answers, nor am I an expert on Understanding Life. I can only offer ideas for things I feel and know to be true. From my personal experience, I have come to recognize that meaning is derived from my commitments to people, places and things around me. This is vague, certainly, but intentionally so. Meaning, as I’ve come to understand, is multi-faceted, dynamic, evolving and strange. It is not squarely defined, nor can it be taught by way of bullet point-type advice. It is an open door, not a locked secret. “Finding” meaning is good, honest work, and such work requires patience and time.

Why Not Being Liked On Facebook Doesn’t Necessarily Mean You’re Hated In Real Life.

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In a recent study conducted by the Department of Psychological Affairs, it was determined that the amount of Facebook likes one receives in a day is inversely correlated to one’s real-life likability.

The study polled 3,000 Facebook users- all from varying socioeconomic statuses, ethnic and religious backgrounds– and found that the more popular the users were online, the more they were disliked in the real world.

Susan Sullivan of Plainview, New Hampshire, found this news particularly uplifting, as she has been liked a total of two times since opening her Facebook account some six years ago. “In all the years that I’ve had Facebook, I’ve been liked only twice. And those likes were mine.” She said that despite posting on a near regular basis things which she deemed ‘of cultural or intellectual interest,’ she never received any feedback. This lack of positive reinforcement began to take a toll on her a couple months back, as she noticed her self-esteem plummeting. She was considering therapy just days before the Department’s article was released.

“I feel such relief now, knowing that my popularity is not based on Facebook acceptance. It has opened up a world of opportunities for me, and I now feel so transformed. My self-worth is immeasurable!”

Unfortunately, the news comes as a deep blow to others. After reading the article, Kylie Devoe of Long Beach, California went into hiding. A tall, beautiful blonde known for her vivaciousness and voluptuousness, Kylie was never a stranger to Facebook likes. In fact, Kylie said that on average, she receives 112 likes for every single Facebook post.

When asked what her posts typically consist of, Kylie said she likes to share “whatever comes to mind,” namely, pictures of babies, boobs and small animals. Her popularity was so evident online, she was never given a reason to suspect that in the real world, people had a different perception of her.

As it turns out, in real life, people find Kylie to be terrible. When her colleagues/neighbors/former roommates/best friend/Mother were interviewed for this article, the consensus among them was astounding. “Kylie is the worst,” quoted Kylie’s Mother. “She is seriously terrible,” she went on to say.

After learning that Kylie was disliked in real life, Kylie has gone silent. She still posts on Facebook , but she no longer makes conversation in real life. When we contacted her for further comment, she refused to answer our calls.

Since having published the article, the Department of Psychological Affairs has seen an outcry of both support and condemnation from readers. While the disliked Facebookers are able to celebrate their victory as having ‘made it’ in the real world, popular Facebook ‘celebrities’ are crying about this highly publicized blow to their ego.

Just Another Fork In The Road

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Two paths diverged in the woods. Luckily, I showed up early, and was able to walk down both. 

 

Finding Your Path 

 

Each day, we blindly follow through with familiar routines. We approach daily tasks and chores with an unquestioned obedience. We, the programmed collective, do as we’re told; all the more often, we simply do as we know.

We repeat familiar tasks tirelessly, and lay our heads down on fresh pillows after exhausting days. It’s only when we uproot ourselves from such familiar scenes that we discover life’s alternatives. That other ways of living are not only possible, but also plentiful.

The question is, where do you start? How do you even begin the process of choosing which kind of life you want to live? What kind of person you want to be? With any number of options available, the process of narrowing them down can feel overwhelming. But have no fear: you got this.

You start by making mistakes. You pursue your passions with a reckless obsession, and you don’t give up until you’ve failed. Twice. Maybe even a few times. You become a master of your own universe, and you begin each day by staring yourself in the mirror, proclaiming, “I’m a superstar!And you remind yourself that it’s not just your mom who thinks so.

You spend sufficient time learning what doesn’t work for you-what feels forced, unnatural, or coerced- and you cross those things/people/places/jobs off the list. You trust in your gut, and your gut guides you.

Over time, you begin to develop a groove. You find yourself naturally drifting in a particular direction, signaling that your focus is being born. Sometimes, the current of mental adjustment is slow, causing what can feel like a meandering way forward. Other times, though, the current pulls you hard and fast in a specific direction. If this pull is consistent and strong, allow yourself to surrender to its pulls. This is your instinct guiding you in the right direction for you.

 

Simply Speaking

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Yes You Can

 

You should be a yes person. You should try things, repeatedly, and note down your reactions. Put yourself in sweaty, trying environments-soak in the sticky tub of discomfort-and struggle. Once you’ve successfully pushed your own boundaries, pat yourself on the back for a job well done. Perhaps even shout, “Holy shit! Yes!” at the tippy top of your lungs, just because you can. Feel proud that your ordinary self (Mistress of Mediocre; Captain of Clumsy) survived the seemingly impossible.

 

Like So

 

I keep returning back to the Fijian proverb: “Life is like this: Sometimes sun, sometimes rain.” The saying is so true; it hurts. Power exists within succinct dichotomies, which suggest that the world’s blessed wonders and horrific hellholes can often be understood in astonishingly simple ways. One day might be terrific while the next day is terrible. The trick to tackling life is to stay afloat. Even if all you’ve got is a dollar store life raft. As they say, “Make the most of what you’ve got.”

How Many Beans Is Too Many To Spill?

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I’m an over-sharer. Always missing my chance at becoming a Woman of Mystery, I introduce myself as, “Hi, please take a seat. Have I got a story for you!”  Carelessly unleashing mental mania onto someone you just met seems unwise. And yet, I continue.

I share every hop, skip and beat with strangers, giving them full access to the soundtrack that is my life. I’m undiscerning and descriptive, revealing sources of problem and pride with maximum vigor and minimal shame. Unsure whether such innocence will help or harm, I’ve chosen to not drain the glass half full. Instead, I’ve opted to embrace it with a reckless persistence that makes me smile and laugh.

Sometimes I wish I could be more illusive. Disregard the interest of others with a smoky eye and pouty lip. Think so high of sexy self that I need not care about the opinion of peers. Alas, I’m far too candid and hopelessly awkward to pull off anyone other than me.

I bumble furiously and excitedly through conversation. I accidentally use words to dig holes and unintentionally bury myself beneath them. I’m never looking for error or controversy, but inconsistency finds its way towards me and really, who am I to turn such away.

Protecting private truths might make me more mysterious, but I suppose I don’t much care. People must know that I’m foolish, and capable of mistakes. I’m also somewhat of a perfectionist, who prefers to not make any at all.

Of course, this reminds me of my fondness for contradiction. I love when the quiet allow themselves a voice. When the meek speak unexpectedly, or out of turn. I love when silence overpowers noise, and the vocal are overwhelmed by silent, introspective thought.

I devour dichotomy. I adore alliteration.

The Airport Hipster

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Initial pondering:

I’m positioned at a sort of standing desk in the middle of the terminal, looking straight out towards the masses. I can’t believe I didn’t have to put a token in to hang out here. I’ve stumbled upon the kind of real estate city-dwellers would beg for. Feeling lucky.

Some moments later, upon arriving at gate:

I feel let down by the individuals seated at Gate B18. I had anticipated the Portland, Oregon-bound crowd to be the physical manifestation of all things hipster, and that is simply not the case. Most disappointingly, I report that the ratio of flannel-wearing 20-something’s at B18 is proportional to flannel-wearing 20’s something’s found elsewhere in the airport. Have I been punk’d?

Not quite over it:

It’s possible that their inner hipster is bellowing through headphones, or tattooed carefully beneath long sleeves, but I can’t be entirely sure. The outward exterior is unremarkable and easily forgettable, much like me and no offense, you.

When Things Are As They Seem:

I respect the desire to go against the grain, but understand that predictability offers greater convenience. At the airport, I love stumbling upon patterns. I look for cities that embody particular attitudes. I smile at the southern accents that accompany a flight to Texas, and the expensive effort evidenced in the apparel of those bound for New York. It’s kind of comforting to know that each thing is in its right place, like a sock placed neatly in a drawer filled not with marshmallows, but other socks. Just go with it.

When Stereotypes Fail, and How This Relates to Life:

Of course, the world is not always predictable, and can often surprise. For example, just when you think you understand a particular person or place, an Indian woman wearing a sombrero takes a seat at gate B4, en route to Birmingham, Alabama. Wasn’t expecting that one.

A Tiny Tangent:

Which reminds me of this one time –I promise this will be quick, I also have things to do– when I was most surprised to learn that a fair-trade coffee shop in rural Vermont was planning to extend its hours from 7 PM to 3 AM, so as to host the state’s first ever Moonlight Pole Dancing classes. Upon hearing this, I decided that such an idea would never take off. Then, once reminded that Vermont prides itself on the support of local businesses, I reconsidered.

Conclusion, Because I’m done:

Unsurprisingly, ideas of What The World Is vs. What The World Could Be excite me greatly. In fact, I’m now so hyped up on the hypothetical that I’m forced to abandon my original point (for it’s since been forgotten) and am left hoping new material may form.

But until then, I leave you with a token of my affection, which is to say:

When in doubt, be different. If indifferent, just be you.

How to Make Sense of Life’s Nonsense

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Are you feeling confident? Hilarious? Not actually very funny? Self-aware? Insecure? If you answered yes to any of the above, read on.

So I have this friend named David.

David won’t accept ‘I don’t know’ for an answer. He asks me what I want to do next. What I want to do with my life. Most of my other friends take no issue with my uncertainty. Satisfied, they are (or so it seems), with my ‘Dude, I’m just not sure!’ ambiguity. David, however, does not give up easily. In a really annoying (and perhaps, somewhat endearing) way, he asks me to think more. To go deeper. To explore. To deconstruct. To yada yada yada. And all I want to tell him is “Not now, David. I promise I’ll give it more thought, I’m sure you have a good point, but I can’t be bothered to cipher through all the crap right now.” Usually after I say this, he’ll relent. But he’s a pusher and a prodder, he is. Probably a better man for it.

He’s also a real dreamer. I mean, big time. And don’t get me wrong. I, too, love a good dream- day or night. But sometimes, I’m so sick of my more heady self-conscious. The wistful, playful, side of me that considers all the world a possibility. Determines that everything I could ever want is within reach, all ya gotta do is ask politely. I indulge my inner idealist all the time. Too frequently, in fact, that every now and then, I decide I need a mental hiatus. Take a break from la-dee-fucking-da land, and bring myself back to Planet Earth. Stop interpreting the career ladder as a figurative one (head deep in the clouds), and ground myself so as to better view the ladder’s literal rungs (feet planted, ready position). *Note: Turns out, the ladder’s rungs are actually made of play-doh; therefore, they’re quite malleable. But you didn’t hear it from me.

The only thing I find impressive about the American Dream scheme is that it has managed to fool so many, so fast. Hot damn! It’s like the most successful marketing gig known to mankind. A lifelong sales pitch being fed to the general public, myself included, and we’ve let it go on without question. The masses are into it, I’ll tell ya. Everyday, hundreds of thousands subscribe to the Dream Scheme like it’s a free sex giveaway, and everyone-me! me! me!– wants a piece of it.

I’m not always so cynical. Really! I just sometimes am. And now must be one of those sometimes. I can be quite the optimist.  Sometimes, I go through phases of such positive thinking, I can be downright cheery. I guess my issue is that I just want people to be happy. Not in a ‘wake up smiling everyday’ kind of way (though that would be awesome!), but in a simpler way. I want people to feel satisfied. And satisfied with less. My Mom used to say less is more, and though she was speaking with regards to makeup, the statement consistently rings true. Stop wanting more and more and more and just relax already. I’m a big fan of the CTFD advice. Calm the Fuck Down. All of you. And me. I should really just chill.

I’ve decided that I want a change in location. In some ways, I want the antithesis to New York City. I love New York (so relax New Yorkers, I’m not hating), but I’ve found that it doesn’t necessarily bring out the best in me. It does on the dance floor, that’s for sure, but aside from all the silly trivialities, it seems to suffocate the part of me that is something else. The part of me that is New England. That is the mid-west. That is green, that is nomadic, that is active. I only feel active in The City in the sense that I am running around from place to place. Trying to catch the train. Make work on time. Not show up late to bar/dinner/club/music/movie/culture dates. And that is not activity in the rad sense of ‘I just hiked a mountain and now am really exhausted and sweaty and gross but that’s okay because I just hiked a fucking mountain!’ kind of way. No, that’s activity in the ‘I‘m tired from never having the time of day to do anything because my time is always spent doing things, and I’m not actually sure what those things are‘ kind of way.

Forever the optimist, but always the pessimist. The idealist and the cynic. The beat boxer and the folk singer. The high heel and the hiking boot. If you don’t understand me, that makes two of us.

I’m trying to better understand my dueling personalities. Or perhaps they’re not dueling, but at this juncture in my life, I have yet to understand the two as friends. Acquaintances, at best, and even that feels grossly exaggerated. There is the part of me that thinks I should be doing something. I should be utilizing my language skills, improve upon my Chinese speaking abilities, move to a big city, do big things, make big money, and be a big fucking deal. There’s that side of me. Call it the residual effects of my midtown Manhattan glory days. Or the result of growing up with a Dad whom whispered ‘401k’ into my ear at night. (Not literally, of course. That would just be weird.) And yes, retirement plans and health care are important. But, I have a hard time accepting that such things are the end all, be all. You dig? You must.

So, where do I go from here? How to do I navigate the world’s competing influences? For a long time, I considered my indecisiveness to be only a mild ailment. The inevitable feeling one has when living in the Land o’ Plenty. Abundance of choice has always left me bewildered. (How can one choose from sixteen different tubes of toothpaste? Originally searching for the kind that simply cleans, I now am able to choose from the tube that can make your teeth white, tartar-free and straight. Teeth straightener, in a tube!) Friends ask me to choose from a dinner menu the length of my arm, and wonder why does it take me twice as long as everyone else to pick something. “I’ll tell you why,” I respond, “Because this thing is goddamn overwhelming! That’s why.”

In the past, I interpreted ambiguity as a positive thing, as such allowed me to explore multiple options. To keep all doors open. My indecisiveness, I pretended, allowed me to wade through choice’s shallow waters. Only recently, however, have I been struck by the realization that I was never wading. The longer I waded/waited, the greater the stakes, the higher the water rose, and the more likely I was to sink. Dear God, was I drowning? I was drowning!!  *Note: Prolonged wading/waiting can lead to death by drowning. But you didn’t hear it from me.

Anyhow, all this to say…actually, I have since forgotten my point. There was something I meant to express, or maybe two different things. Um. Well, all of this to say that uncertainty can be both good and bad! Yes, well said. Uncertainty is an acceptable form of certainty, for it can reflect an individual’s not wanting to commit to something which one does not fully understand. This can indicate that a person is both thorough, and objective. However, uncertainty can also mean that one is just lazy, or otherwise fearful of making a mistake. And I have advice for those people (for myself): Make a mistake! Take a risk, own the decision, and see where it takes you. The worst that could happen is you end up with teeth not quite as white as the next guy’s. And you know what? That’s not so bad after all.

Ethnic Chic

…Case of the Indigenous Skinny Jean…

Any woman who has traveled to more conservative parts of the world knows the importance of covering up. In some societies, it’s simply not acceptable to rock the spandex-tight, cleavage-popped look that Western women are notorious for. I’m generalizing, try not to be too sensitive. ‘Covering up’ can mean different things to different people, but in countries like India and Nepal, covering one’s shoulders and legs is considered to be the socially accepted minimum.

It’s taken me a few visits to understand, but I’m now able to wear clothes that feel comfortable and appropriate. I throw a shawl or scarf over bare shoulders, and always wear something knee-length. Such dress doesn’t feel oppressively hot in the heat, and doesn’t elicit unwanted stares from curious (to be polite) local men.

My interpretation of local rules and expectations is, of course, my own opinion. Plenty of other women interpret the social norms in totally different ways. And it is this point-the matter of ‘norm interpretations’-of which I wish to delve further.

I would like to bring to your attention two examples of women whom interpret social norms and expectations in their own unique ways.  (Note* These characters are not fictionalized, and are based upon a real life spotting, some moments ago.)

Example One: The I Don’t Give a Shit Type

Let’s call her Debbie Diva.

This woman packs an identical wardrobe in her suitcase, no matter where in the world she visits. She arrives in Nepal fully equipped with her favorite skinny jeans, a leather purse and suspiciously matched accessories. This outfit, alone, causes a stir. To put icing on the cake (akin to putting the word Juicy on one’s rear), she’s showing skin. A lot of it. It’s not just her shoulders which attract attention, but her chest. Her tank top is low, and it takes everything in me to resist from grabbing her shirt and yanking it up high. Turtleneck-style.

In the states, her look would go unnoticed. It’s somewhat stylish, and indeed is representative of something not unfamiliar to the majority of us. But to wear such a thing here, in a village in Nepal…well that is just entirely uncool.

Example Two: The Going Native Type               

Let’s call her Indigenous Irene.

In example two, I wish to highlight a character that lies on the opposite end of the spectrum. This is the girl whom, immediately after getting off the plane, takes to the streets in search for the most ethnic garb imaginable. She interprets the ‘dress modestly’ mantra in such a way that, when purchasing pants, she opts for one outrageously large pair. The insides of the pants are baggy enough to fit a friend, perhaps even two. She buys multiple head scarves, wrapping them around her body, repeatedly, until it’s all but impossible to discern where one body part begins and another ends. She makes profane that which is most sacred, by having one of Nepal’s holiest symbols tattooed on her foot (a most unholy of place, according to Hinduism). In her attempts to go local, she has totally and absolutely failed.

What Would Smaps Wear? (bracelets available upon request)

Want my advice? Wear loose, comfortable clothing. Don’t stop bathing. Accessorize, if you wish, but don’t try too hard to embody that which you don’t understand. Lastly, and most importantly, just be you!

(Note: if you typically dress in a way that leaves little to the imagination, the aforementioned advice does not apply to you. In such a case, don’t be you. Be someone else. At least while you’re abroad. And then maybe at home, too.) 

Thanks for tuning in to another session of World Briefings, brought to you by Smaps Randall.

 

Fantasy Speed-Dating..

…And The Seductive Stranger.

(a fictional story based on a real-life event).

During the seven minutes of ready, set, talk! time, eligible bachelor #1 would open with the most hilarious of one-liners. His joke would be so outrageously funny, I would not be able to control my laughter and, further, would be unable to prevent my whiskey on the rocks from spilling  all over the front of my black satin dress. Mortified, I would glance in all directions to identify just who spotted the spill and make sure they be removed from the premises at once when suddenly! I would turn back to look at him and he would be staring back at me. I would be made immobile, my limbs feeling like seasick gelatin and my mind a hot, blurry cloud and he would hold his gaze and I, mine, for ten seconds straight. Ten, nine, eight…he would begin to undress me mentally and I could feel my stockings being removed and it wouldn’t matter that this was all occurring cerebrally because it would feel more real than the ground beneath my feet. And then! Just when I would think our mind fuck was about to explode our very brains all over the ceiling, he would grab my dress and suck the whiskey on the rocks straight from its saturated source. Sets of astonished eyes would look towards him in surprise but he wouldn’t second-guess his behavior, nor would I…not until the whiskey on the rocks was sucked clean from the satin and he would leave behind on it only a tint of moisture from his lips.

So much would happen in those first two minutes of ready, set, talk! time that we would forget what we were doing, how we met, why we were even there. I would open my mouth to say, “This is crazy! This is all happening so fast!” and he would respond with, “I know…I don’t know what came over me! It’s just this passion, this…” “Feeling,” I would reply. We would finish each other’s sentences and laugh at the absurdity of our situation. That we could love each other more than anyone had ever loved before, and that we could make each other laugh because we were both so fucking hilarious! And we were goddamn geniuses! And to think, we could be surrounded by such pathetic fools. Fools whom would never experience a love so intense and severe, a love that would redefine historical conceptions of happiness and lust and blow them out of the fucking water. It would be a match made not in heaven or on Earth but somewhere unknown, someplace without a name or identity, and would be a match born from a revolutionary place…an imagined space that no human being before us ever knew existed.   

Yes, it was true love, and yes! It was ours!

Secretary Secrets

I wish I could remember the funny thing that popped in my head the other day. It was mid-morning, and just as I was exiting the subway, I thought of it.

Haha! I laugh to myself. This is brilliant! I should write this down! Does anyone have a pen? There are briefcases and purses all around me. They ought to be filled with dozens of pens. Hundreds, even. Too bad I don’t have a tape recorder on me. This shit is hilarious!

Unfortunately, I’ve never once carried a tape recorder on me. Instead, I keep replaying the joke in my head, all twelve blocks to the office. I repeat it, each time in a different accent. Keep it alive! Keep it funny! Tell the joke in a Jamaican accent. Or a British one! Or better yet, use your infamous British-Aussie, or ‘Aussish’ fusion accent that works so well  in  pub crowds. That will be fucking hysterical!

Tears are spilling down my cheek, that’s how hard I’ve been laugh out loud’ing since I exited the subway, some twelve blocks back. I am smiling ear to ear with that big, awkward, cheesy smile of mine. I’ve always had too big of teeth for such a small mouth, but at times like this, it doesn’t matter. I’m jovial and happy. I’m such a joy to be around.

I step foot in the office door, and everything changes. The sun escapes from the sky, and is replaced by its darker, evil nemesis: the cloud. My smile is stunted, and that funny joke I had in my head just a moment ago, that fucking hysterical joke, is now gone. Totally forgotten. Even if I tried to remember it, I wouldn’t be able to. And I do try, at least twice, to remember. It’s gone.

My smile has altogether faded. There are still remnants of lines on my face, though there’s nothing to indicate that they are from laughing. In fact, they could just as easily be frown-formed. Too much frowning, perhaps. Is there a difference between a laugh line and frown line? The office, by its very nature, determines that question to be invalid, or otherwise unworthy of attention. Abort philosophical quandaries immediately.

I made up a slogan the other day at work. Anytime I hear the girls laughing-there are only two other girls in the whole place, both of whom are administrative assistants-I yell (quietly, because we’re in an office), “Too much clownin’, not enough frownin’!” The girls laugh at me, nervously. “You’re crazy, Smaps,” they say in near perfect unison. I join their laughter. The three of us, together, have a lot of fun.

When I’m not clowning (or frowning) around, I’m working. I file, schedule appointments, The board room is already booked, better luck next time, Buster!, stock the refrigerator, refill supplies, and wipe down tables, You wouldn’t believe how many fingerprints there were on the glass today. It was amazing! Disgusting, really, but amazing, too! I check the fax machine for faxes, The fax hasn’t arrived yet, Boss! I’ll let you know as soon as I get word!, and I refill the paper tray in the copier. I perform all of these tasks with expert precision. Within a mere few weeks, I’m learning so many new things, so many new, wonderful things!, and my behavior is exceptional. So exceptional in fact, that, recently, I was rewarded with extra work.

“I couldn’t help but notice how efficient you were processing the snack order,” McDougal, my tall, bald-headed colleague, says to me. Holy shit, he noticed!

“If it wouldn’t be too much trouble, I was thinking you could start coordinating some of the employees’ travel.” My eyes tear up at the thought. Me! He wants me to start booking travel? Oh my god, oh my god, oh my god, oh my GOD! Don’t screw this up, Smaps. This could be your big break…

“It wouldn’t be anything too serious,” he continues, “just a bit of the domestic travel for some of the associates. Our company’s travel agent actually handles all the booking. You would just be in charge of asking the associate’s for their preferred travel times and hotel locations.”

Oh, snap! My eyes and nose are watering, slowly, cautiously, each canal saturating itself at the thought of the other. Don’t screw this up, damnit! He wants you! He’s telling you he thinks you’re capable, and God willing, you should be the woman for the job! Ten seconds pass. Fucking say something, already! He’s going to think you’re not interested!

“So….what do you think? Are you interested?” Finally, he speaks. It’s a question, requiring a yes or no response. Am I in, or am I out?

“Great!” I reply, too loudly. Way too loudly. “I mean,” I pause, “I think this might be something of interest to me.” Dear God, I sound like a cover letter.

He laughs. “Something of interest,” he repeats me, line for line, “Well, good, then. I’m glad you’re interested.” I smile. This guy’s mocking you, and you can’t do a single thing about it! “We can talk more about it later, but I just wanted to give you the heads up.”

“Well, consider the heads up, then!” I shout. Also too loudly. Consider the heads up? What the fuck am I saying? Who says that?

He laughs again, and backs away from me. “Okay,” he mumbles. He’s feeling awkward. I’ve made him feel awkward, or maybe he made me feel awkward first. At this point, it’s difficult to tell, to place blame. It could be argued that he started it, as he’s the one who approached me in the first place. I was the one sitting; quietly, diligently, alone, at my desk. I was the one playing Minesweeper at my desk when he came over and interrupted me. And he did have something in his teeth the entire time. I think it was a piece of lettuce or something; he’s always eating those nine dollar, pre-packaged salads for lunch. Yeah, come to think of it, that piece of lettuce made everything awkward from the start.

But to be fair, I didn’t leave him a comfortable out. What with my random bursts of Great! and Heads up!, maybe he regretted offering up the extra responsibilities, the chance at travel!, by the end of the conversation. Whatever. It’s done. I am officially coordinating travel for the associates. This gig is sweeter by the day!

World Cup 2010: An Amateur Analysis.

About me.
I am a self-proclaimed footy-lite enthusiast. By this I mean, I like/love ‘soccer.’

Here’s the deal: soccer has always been my favorite sport. As a kid, I spent more time playing soccer than I did doing any other recreational activity. Also, it’s the only sport (aside from tae kwon do) that I collected a handful of trophies/medals/really cool plaques, all of which commended my skills. *Disclaimer: Perhaps my most notable soccer award came in 8th grade. I was given a plaque which showcased (in gold) the words: MOST IMPROVED.

A note on etymology.
Before I proceed with my analysis, I’d like to get something straight. As I will be discussing the World Cup in this post, I request your permission to forego my American roots and refer to the sport as football. Done and done.

Variety is the spice of life.
I love World Cup Culture. From the hardcore (rioters, screamers and criers) to the mediocre (“who does the guy in red play for?”), each kind of fan is welcomed at my spectator lounge. (However, if you’re only there to ogle Ronaldo, maybe you should sit the next few out…at home.)

I’ve been trying trying to catch as many of the World Cup games as possible. FIFA fever is rampant throughout the city, and I’m getting a kick (pun intended) out of frequenting local hotspots for game-glimpses. During the games, I am adamant in my support of non-violent smack-talking. I think said means of expression is not only important, but necessary to prevent an emotional breakdown.

With teams coming from all over the world, diverse viewing experiences abound for all kinds of football enthusiasts. A trip to the local Argentine café for the Argentina vs. Mexico game, for example, is quite the spectacle. Watching the USA vs. Ghana match in an all-American barbeque joint, however, is an entirely different affair (more on this later). NYC has proven itself to be a hotspot for every match imaginable, thanks to the innumerable tourists, locals, and international crowds.

Let the Good Times Roll.

Germany is a great team to watch. Not only are they impressive on the field, but, from a spectators’ point of view, the entertainment value is doubled when the game is watched in a 100% certified Deutschland arena. Such an arena includes the following: an owned and operated German beer garden, complete with a $5 bratwurst lunch special and your choice of two dozen aromatic, German beers…on tap. Of course, handling this situation appropriately requires sound judgment on the part of spectator. My personal code of conduct is as follows: so long as I can pronounce Schweinsteiger’s name correctly, I’m allowed another Pilsner.

I wouldn’t be American if I merely paid tribute to the Germans, though. Before we were ousted after our loss on Saturday, I was a proud supporter of the good ol’ Team USA. I’ll be the first to admit: watching the USA play football (eh, soccer) isn’t the most exciting thing in the world. However, while our record may not always impress, we still are (and always will be) a hundred times better than New Zealand. So take that, Kiwis!

Anyhow, back to the game. I watched every USA match, but not a single one was as exciting as the game on Saturday against Ghana. The game itself wasn’t amazing, but the scene certainly was. If you don’t mind, I’d like to tell you about it.

God bless the USA!
I reached Manhattan about an hour before the game was scheduled to begin. I poked around a couple places but nothing was catching my eye. I didn’t want to watch the USA take on the last remaining African team in just any bar. No, I wanted to find a bar seething in red, white and blue, with people running around nearly naked-clad only in the American flag-pouring pitchers of Budweiser from foot-long beer funnels. Ah, yes. This was precisely the scene I was going for, and precisely the scene I found.

Enter: Brother Jimmy’s.

I can smell destiny from a mile away, and that Saturday it came to me in the form of sweaty American boys and barbecued pork sandwiches. Bruce Springsteen’s “Born in the USA” blared from the speakers and, inside, the bar was packed full with American goodies. The bar itself was lined with freshly squeezed Budweiser, and young blondes in cleavage-friendly tank tops elbowed up the staircase with trays full of freedom fries.

The match would begin shortly, and I felt happy as a clam to have discovered the fine folks at Brother Jimmy’s in just enough time for some solid pre-gaming.

(Beer drinking and socializing commences—-)

The USA played 90 minutes of outstanding football (sort of). We ended up losing the match by one goal, and although the loss was upsetting, somehow the pain became easier to bear after a few more Buds and some bro hugs.

Long story short (or the lesser of two longs).

If you haven’t been watching the World Cup, shame on you. But, really, it’s not too late to start. Things are just starting to heat up, and there’s plenty of time to pick a favorite player/team (and you can’t always pick the winning team- that’s cheating). You should watch football, not only because everyone else is doing it, but because…well, everyone else is doing it.

The energy, enthusiasm and emotions behind the World Cup are contagious. The USA may be out, but that only means there’s better football to come.

So…get into it.