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flawed citizenry

As I sit here and watch an episode of the West Wing titled “The Portland Trip” (does anyone write tv dialogue better than Sorkin?) I reminisce about the week that just was.  I work as a vendor funded sales specialist for an IT reseller and this past week was our annual company wide kickoff.  Gotta’ love corporate events: relentless training, marathon awards dinners and finding that superhuman social prowess you weren’t sure you had to meet and impress (on some level) anyone that crosses your path with their name dangling from a lanyard.  Yup, almost as much fun as a date with a girl with no underwear (that’s called sarcasm by the way). 

I’m not your average corporate citizen, I’ve taken three swings at a post secondary education without ever making it past second base, I believe that the documentary “The Corporation” was on to something and I’m a walking HR violation. 

My flawed corporate citizenry and thinly veiled disdain for the congregation of 900 business formal cogs in a very big money machine (mostly because the line between confidence and being a douche usually disappears at these things) aside…I get it…clearly defined culture and messaging are necessary pieces to the successful corporate puzzle.

Where it all goes wrong is the messaging and culture quickly become punchlines to many of the worker ants despite the hard work put in by the marketing and leadership teams to make them inspirational. The problem with putting  so much effort into a message is that it’s really hard to not make it sound contrived.  Ah well, I often struggle with the same dilemma….

identity crisis?

I’m a 37 year old brother that has never dated a sister—wow that came out way more Dueling Banjo’s than I anticipated…I’m not incestuous, I’ve just never gone out with a black woman.  It’s not that I don’t find them attractive or that I’m a textbook Oreo cookie (though if you heard me speak you would probably beg to differ). 

 Truth be told, I can dance like a mofo, my three favourite words are sugar-water-purple and let’s just say my lover’s eyes have a way of lighting up the first time we see each other sans vêtements. 

Now that my ego is satisfied…why no african-whatever girlfriends? Straight goods? I just don’t think they’re interested (the “bright side” is that pretty much every other nationality doesn’t seem to mind so much) and this has sparked a bit of an identity crisis for me.  Am I somehow “tainted” by my open mind and multinational relationships?  I don’t think so.  One of my favourite lines is, “we’re all products of our experiences”…it just makes sense like, “you are what you eat.” 

Ever since my mom transplanted my brother and I from the still segregated and very afrocentric Houston Heights neighborhood to a 95% white Christian private school in Mississauga, my game with the sisters suffered a mortal blow. 

 The funny part is the first time I went back to Texas (after ten plus years of enjoying the great Canadian cultural mosaic…at least in Toronto) my Uncle Walter surmised, “you have a white girlfriend don’t you?”  I didn’t even have to tell him about my Thrasher subscription or new found love of the ‘tangy zip’.

Should I give up long boarding and Miracle Whip?

Nah…I’m dating a great girl and I can still jump higher than you soooo crisis averted.

honesty and karma

I am participating in PostAWeek and I’m stoked (for a few reasons):

  1. It’s officially one of a few New Year’s Resolutions for me in 2011 (for some reason, one just wasn’t enough this year). 
  2. Like playing basketball and inspiring belly laughs, blogging is something that I’ve always wanted to do more of.
  3. I’ve chosen a topic that we could all probably do with a little more of: honesty.

What keeps me (somewhat) honest is that I’ve always mentally merged the completely hairy and lofty goal of perpetual honesty with one of the great behavioural mitigators, Karma (or more specfically daily Karmic retribution). I can feel you groaning through this flatscreen but before you throw up the middle finger and log onto facebook think about it, of all the virtuous activities that exist we have more opportunities to be honest than most of the others.  Unfortunately, lies still come easy and often to many of us—myself included. 

Loosely defined, Karma is based on the notion that there is some great point system of pluses and minuses based on our daily decisions and actions. Every day that ends in a negative score puts you that much closer to stubbing your toe the next morning.  If you manage to stay on the positive side then not only are your toes safe, you wake up to your son’s laughter.  

Still not making much sense…?  Let me put it this way, in my mind it’s a numbers game with immediate implications. 

If every lie is a minus 1 then the 20 points that you gained by saving that cat from a burning tree were negated by the web of deceit woven by you the week before to land that big business deal or cute bartender.   Where things get interesting/confusing is when you throw in life’s inevitable variables. Who are we lying to and about what?  Is it to protect someone or something or is it self-serving?  These details are yours to identify and address.  Just remember, if you haven’t saved any cats recently you may be setting yourself up for a broken toe. 

Obviously I’m no honesty guru and the karmic point system is completely arbitrary but if it helps you tell just one additional truth this year then I’m declaring my first post of 2011 a success.

Happy New Year!

the bowling ball

I don’t know how else to say this, so here goes: I love the internet, I mean I stand up, spin around, lie down and hump the ground looooove the internet (I know, revolutionary)!  From Wikileaks to Yahoo Fantasy Sports…random YouTube music parties to real life Cyberpunkian blocades around entire countries (*cough* North Korea). I love it.  I love that what is already a pretty decent slice of the human experience is now available to anyone with the freedom and resources to connect to it and explore!

Nice. 

I don’t know about you but every now and then I feel life is this giant bowling ball filled with everything I hate about my known universe and it’s chasing me like I’m named after Hoosier territory. Not even remotely cool….

I argue that this vast network that is directly shaping our lives daily *as we collectively feed each other ungodly amounts of information* will also help save us from ourselves. I would even go as far as to say that “connected” people ingest more data than any other quantifiable substance. What the hell am I getting at?  Despite fear, hatred, apathy, greed and all of the other shit that fills our respective bowling balls…we now have these amazing shields against said downer vibes: global (universal?) community and shared knowledge. 

Take that bowling ball.

got muse?

Todays world is saturated with other people’s ideas (I know this sounds negative but hear me out)…whether it’s a song, an equation or a self-indulgent blog *wink*, we cannot escape the unabated creativity that is constantly freeing itself from the minds of the masses.  For the longest time this simple observation intimidated and eventually demotivated me.  The common argument that “nothing is original” would pop up in so many random conversations that I actually started to believe it and used it as an excuse to keep my thoughts to myself.

Apparently this has changed….

All it took were the gentle, candid proddings of a great listener with phenomenal legs (what can I say, crushing helps my creativity).  She revealed to me the utter folly that is self-doubt.  What others have said, are saying or will say should inspire and not deter.  You would think that would be obvious but some of us need a little help seeing what’s right under our noses. 

Now that a beautiful someone has helped me get out of my own way, I thought I’d pay it forward via my first blog entry.  Key takeaway? The best way not to succeed, is not to try.

The rest is up to you, me and any other creative voice just waiting to be heard.

Got muse?