Thursday, December 25, 2008

And To Prove That I'm Not A Total Scrooge...

...A heartwarming story about a Samoan Savage and his Christmas Myracle. Happy Holidays all!

(From the Wrestling Observer/Figure 4 Weekly website)

Monday, December 22, 2008

33 Years Of Opportunism

Ballots were handed out at my job a few weeks ago voting for 2nd shift's various characters, such as Most Likely to Transition to a better job in J.P. Morgan Chase, Most Helpful, Most Outspoken, etc. The last category was for Most Quiet, and almost immediately after the ballots were distributed, several people approached me asking for my last name so they could rock the vote for me. I didn't have to guess which category they were putting me down for, but after that day I forgot about the ballots until the awards show happened this past Friday. I have to admit, I expected to be in the running for Most Quiet, but I didn't necessarily expect to win. There are close to 100 people working 2nd shift, so I didn't think I'd be able to beat everyone out. But the nominations came up on the TV screen, which displayed the nominees for each award with their name in lights and music in the background, and for Most Quiet I was the 2nd nominee displayed. It was so funny because my name popping up was immediately followed by several people in the room saying, "Who??" I was so quiet that a lot of folks legitimately didn't know who the hell I was even though I've been working 2nd shift now for a year and a half. I guess if I'm that unknown, I deserve to be named Most Quiet, and indeed I won. Now, I didn't vote for anybody in any category, and I dismissed the whole thing as silly the day that ballots were handed out, so you'd think I would be embarrassed or nonchalant about winning. But, once again proving myself to be a hypocrite and proving that when it comes to the spotlight I have no shame, I basked in the "glory" of my win, stretching my arms out when my name was called, strutting down the red-carpet aisle, and accepting my award with a big smile as if I accomplished something. I grabbed the microphone for an acceptance speech, and, no lie, I heard several people gasp at the prospect of me speaking, and one woman said, "This should be something. I haven't heard him say a thing in two years." I then gave my one-word speech: "Shhhh..." Then I took a bow and headed back to my seat in the back of the room as everyone laughed and applauded.

Hey, if I thanked the Academy and took forever in my acceptance, then I wouldn't be deserving of Most Quiet, now would I?

But here's the thing: Those close to me who work with me every day don't think of me as very quiet. When someone does something stupid at work, or my boss gets on my ass about my numbers, or something happens that pisses me off, I'm not quiet at all. I'm quite loud and outspoken about dumb shit. I don't say much when things are going smoothly, but there are days where everything seems to be going off the rails and I appear to be the only one capable of steering the train back on track. A good example would be last month, when an account in my workgroup that has a lot of difficult instructions became a problem because I wasn't there to work on it for a few days and people in a different workgroup tried to do it. They screwed it up, but it wasn't their fault. There are a lot of instructions that were accidentally cut off of the online instruction page for that account, but because I've been working that account for a couple of years, I know what instructions are missing, and I work the account the right way. I have mentioned to previous supervisors and team leads that the instructions need to be fixed, but no one listened, and now people were running up to me saying "I'm so glad you're here!" because I returned from having a few days off early in November and I was known as the only guy who really knew how to work that account. Really, when you're running up to me saying "I'm glad you're here!," you have major issues. Because I had mentioned the problems with this account's instructions page many times before, I decided that I was going on a full-on crusade to have this taken care of once and for all, and I talked to team leads and supervisors from 1st shift, who seem to take these things more seriously than 2nd shift, and I grabbed Maria Perez, one of my old supervisors who got promoted upstairs, as she was walking by. And I explained to everyone, one by one, in a calm voice that--how did I put it--this account's instructions are extremely fucked up and someone needs to get off their ass and fix it. After four or five days of different people consulting with me about what needed to be added and subtracted from the page, the job was done. If I wasn't so quiet, this could have been done months ago, I admit, but the point is, when I take charge of getting something done, I'm not quiet at all. I'm rude, crude, brusque and straightforward, and I'm relentless, never pulling up until I accomplish what I need to accomplish.

On this, my 33rd birthday, I am reflecting on that bulldog attitude that I have at certain times that make it such a laugh that I won an award for Most Quiet. I am who I am, and I wouldn't want to change that. And who I am is a quiet person by nature who gets loud and aggressive when he senses the achievement of an accessible goal or the stench of incompetence. I'm like a chameleon in that respect. Last Friday I made a section of a room gasp in shock when I opened my mouth to speak, while another section of the same room winked at me as I accepted my award, knowing that I can get vociferous with the best of them. I like to think of that as being opportunistic. Like one of my favorite wrestlers growing up, Arn Anderson, I will take shot after shot waiting for the right time when I can hit my one good blow that does as much damage as many shots by other people. In other words, when I strike, I make it count. Looking back at my birthday entry from last year, it seems that I decided to keep my cloak of invisibility a little while longer, until I choose my moment to stand up and make myself heard. That's not so much being anonymous, that's just being opportunistic, and I don't think I want to live any other way.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

On Being A Real Man

Finishing up my last class in order to earn my A.A. this week dovetailed nicely with a couple of incidents in the National Football League that reminded me of why some parts of our culture are royally fucked up. Just as I finish a part of my life that was needed to help me grow as a man, here comes a reminder that some don't know what being a man is all about. Left Eye from TLC rapped on their remake of The Time's "Get It Up": "Are you ready to make me feel the definition of a man?" To which one NFL player would respond with a gat in his sweatpants and another with a middle finger.

Let's start with Giants WR Plaxico Burress, who famously shot himself in the leg two weeks ago while trying to take the bullets out of the gun that he had in his sweatpants at a nightclub. He's in legal trouble because he had an unregistered gun in New York, which is a felony. His teammate who was with him that evening, Antonio Pierce, attempted to get rid of the weapon in order to save his friend's ass, but the cops were all over it, and Pierce has since flipped and agreed to cooperate with the investigation. I have heard several football players, current and retired, all black, talk about why it's necessary for some guys to have guns. I heard Marcellus Wiley say that it just made him feel safer, and I heard Joey Porter say that until you're robbed at gunpoint, you don't know what it feels like. Yep, that's the mature reaction. Some athletes have been robbed over the last few years, sure, but the answer isn't to strap on a weapon and walk around like you're the Terminator. The answer is to quit hanging out in places where you might get robbed. But these guys don't want to do that because they don't think that's what a man should do. They look at nightclubs and strip clubs and other various places that are clearly unsafe as joints where they have to go to enjoy themselves. It's all about the "stayin' real" bullshit mentality. They think that just because they grew up in the ghetto, they have to keep hanging out in the ghetto, even after they've made enough money where they no longer have to set foot in the damn ghetto. But they feel that they would be leaving their homies behind if they didn't hang out in dangerous places surrounded by dangerous fools who have no problem ending your life over the cash you're flashing or the jewelry you're wearing. That's what men do, right? They go where they want, when they want, and no one can stop them or intimidate them? No, dumbasses, that's not what men do. Real men avoid dangerous situations. Real men don't step into venues and areas where their lives may be in danger and their families' source of pride and income may be gunned down for no good reason. That's not being a man, that's being a retard. I've never held a gun in my life, and I never will, because I'm a grown-ass man and I don't need one. Of course, I stay out of places where I might feel like I need one. And it's always the black guys doing this shit too. You never hear about a white boy who came out of a dangerous neighborhood to become a star and make money, yet always came back to that hood at night and hung out in the seediest clubs surrounded by shady people. I have no problem with anyone, black or white, going back to their communities and helping to improve the area so that it's not so dangerous, but morons like Plax and Joey Porter would never wish for that. That "thug life" is so ingrained into their minds that they would hate for anything to happen that would take it away from them. They really think that guns and hoes and flashing your money is the definition of a real man. It's not. It's nothing more than putting yourself, the breadwinner of your family, in imminent danger for the sake of entertaining yourself and impressing your thugged-out friends, and that's the definition of stupid.

Detroit Lions center Dominic Raiola addressed the dangers of fools with guns as well, although in a different context. Raiola this past Sunday was being booed out of the building along with the rest of his pathetic team, who haven't won a game this season, when he showed them they were #1 with his middle digit. When the press asked him about it, he didn't give the typical B.S. apology, instead saying he wasn't sorry and wished that he could give his home address to the hecklers but couldn't because "nobody wants to play with fists. Everybody wants to play with metal." In other words, he'd fight the fans who pay his salary if only he could be sure they wouldn't pull a Plaxico and tuck a .357 Magnum or sawed-off into their jogging pants. I understand the frustration of being hated on all the time, really I do. But you can't accept the paycheck every week that you know is coming thanks to the ticket prices and concessions paid for by those same people you would like to fight. That's hypocritical. If I were playing in the NFL, I could care less what the people were yelling at me because I'd be going home after 3 hours of work to my huge pile of money and my supermodel skank collection. But again, here's someone who wants to prove that he's a real man, this time by getting into a fistfight over some words some drunken idiots are shouting at him. Get real. That's almost as stupid as walking into clubs late at night where the best thing that could happen to you is you get drunk, high and laid, which you can do in the privacy of your own home, and the worst is that you die. Today's culture gives so much cash and fame and power to athletes that it sure seems like they believe they are unstoppable. They really need to get a new dictionary and figure out what being a man is really all about.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

The Strangest Thing I've Ever Seen In A Wrestling Ring

All I'll say is, it's from Japan, so maybe that explains its weirdness. But I ain't never seen anything like this before.

And while I'm at it, here's perhaps my favorite all-time Wrestlemania match. That pop for the first wrestler that comes out has got to be the loudest I've ever heard. If I were there live, I would have lost my hearing.