Oversharing

My original post was way too personal. In the past, I would have posted it with a faux “I don’t give a fuck” attitude but I don’t think I should do that anymore. It’s not worth the anxiety. I’m not censoring myself, I’m just waiting to gain more clarity on the situation before I offer up my thoughts. This post was pointless, I know, but I’m not going to lie…I’m pretty proud of myself. I didn’t overshare, and that’s okay. We’ll try again next week!

Altruism

I don’t know if I believe in true altruism.

We help people because it helps us and as long as you’re not hurting anyone or anything, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that.

We’ve all done thoughtful acts but rarely at the expense of our well being or even our comfort. I mean, why should we? To look like a good person? I’ve met a lot of really good people in my life but I’ve never gotten the impression that they were doing the right thing for the “greater good”. It just seemed like they were “good” people because it felt good to be a good person and that’s how they were rewarded by whomever raised or influenced them.  It wasn’t altruism.

Maybe I’m just a bad person and I don’t get it. I don’t know.

In all fairness, I don’t think it’s anyone’s fault that true altruism doesn’t exist. Our current system doesn’t reward altruistic behavior. Capitalism is not supposed to be a zero sum game, but in all games, there are competitors and those competitors either come out as winners or losers. Are you willing to be a loser for the greater good? Because that’s true altruism.

I’m not religious but I think that’s what our idea of Jesus is, a true altruist. We all think Tim Tebow is the second coming of Jesus but he ain’t. He’s probably a really good guy but the real Jesus is some guy in Oklahoma that takes care of his meth addicted sister’s kids and doesn’t have time for romantic relationships. It’s some guy we don’t know because he doesn’t want to be known. That’s Jesus and that’s true altruism.

I had the idea that mothers were the only true altruists but the more I thought about it, the more I was dissuaded. Sure, mothers perform selfless acts all the time but I think that it’s mostly because of social pressure. I think a lot of moms would leave little Johnny in a basket floating down the river if they had the choice but that’s kind of looked down upon now. Mothers are good to their children because if they’re not, they’ll look bad.

I feel like I’ll revisit these thoughts again one day. Until then, that’s all I have on the subject.

On an unrelated note, “#1 Dad” mugs aren’t for your dad. They’re for you. It’s a chance for you to say, “Hey, I got my dad a mug.” If you really just wanted to give him a mug, it would probably look cooler and not reference the fact that he fathered you.

Words Suck

Every Thursday morning, I wake up and think about what I’m going to write about for this blog. I’ll come up with an outline or an idea, get all worked up and motivated to post it early (to get the most eyes on it) but inevitably, three sentences in, I can’t stand my own words. Cut to almost two hours before midnight and I’m scrambling to get something down that’s somewhat compelling. Maybe that’s what I’ll talk about this week. I love writing, but this week I’ll tell you why I hate it, why I think I’m not good at it and why words suck.

This shit’s hard. I mean, it’s easy to write…like just write down your thoughts, duh, but when I was growing up, school made writing so formulaic that it seemed like a chore. It made me hate it. I get that you need the basics. You should know how to spell, form sentences, and the difference between a colon and a semicolon (for some reason), but eventually writing and writing assessments got way too restrictive. The template was simple. You have a main point (thesis), three to four supporting paragraphs and then you wrap it all up at the end in a bow with a summary of your supporting paragraphs and how they related to your main point. There was no room for experimentation and certainly no room for humor. Maybe it’s just the teachers I had or the school system I was brought up in but it wasn’t until college that I actually got to experiment with writing.

I think I hate my writing now because I don’t think it adequately portrays me. I haven’t worked that muscle in my brain to be good enough to tell you all exactly what i’m thinking and I don’t yet have the ability to clearly spell out my perspective. I think I’m still too worried about the fact that people are reading this. I’ve gotta get over that.

This might be the weed typing but I also don’t think I think in words. **Definitely the weed typing**. But for real, I always say that I think language gets in the way and I really believe it. Words are great and all but that’s all they are. Words are inadequate. Dr. Albert Mehrabian (author of Silent Messages) agrees and found that only 7% of any message is conveyed through words. Yeah, writing might just suck. Who even reads books any more? Audiobooks don’t count and most fiction books are just as bad as sitcoms with laugh tracks, so they don’t count either. Writing is a dead medium and we all know it. If it’s not on Youtube, fuck off.

I’m not wrapping this up in a bow. You got what you paid for.

An Ode to Ari Shaffir

      We’re in the middle of a standup comedy boom. It’s never been bigger. There’s no one reason, as the soar in popularity of podcasts, roast battles and big budget Netflix specials have all contributed to this glut of laughs and comedic perspectives. However, there is one unsung hero who’s played a pivotal role in the mainstream success of comedy by bricklaying the foundation of the underground. That man’s name is, Ari Shaffir.

*I’m not an expert nor a historian but I am a comedy nerd so some of the names and references I’m about to drop may be a little obscure.*

For decades, there was a palpable beef between West Coast (mostly Los Angeles) and East Coast (mostly New York and Boston) comedians. New York and Boston comedians thought L.A. comics were vapid, shallow and showboaty while it seemed as if L.A. comics perceived their coastal counterparts to be unnecessarily gritty, brash and everything blue collar that they were trying to get away from. Ari Shaffir played and is still playing a major role in squashing this beef by bridging the two comedy meccas together via podcasts, a collaborative storytelling tv show and most importantly, live comedy shows.

Ari Shaffir, a.k.a. “The Amazing Racist”,  developed his chops at the world famous Comedy Store in Los Angeles in the early 2000’s. He had some moderate success around town, featuring for big comics like Carlos Mencia (big comic at the time), Tom Segura and Joe Rogan. In 2013, Ari started to gain real mainstream traction with the success of his storytelling web-series, “This Is Not Happening” presented by Comedy Central on Youtube which was later picked up by the network as a full fledged tv show in 2015. He also dropped his second special, “Paid Regular“, the same year and week on the network. Around that time, Ari started traveling back and forth between the two coasts before officially becoming a New York City resident in 2015. This catalyzed a new relationship between New York and L.A. comedians that has proved to be fruitful for both sides.

Most of you know who Joe Rogan is. He’s essentially an L.A. comedian who first gained mainstream fame for hosting “Fear Factor”, then as a headlining comedian but most of you know him now as one of the biggest podcasters hosting one of the biggest podcasts out there, “The Joe Rogan Experience”. Well, Ari and Joe are best friends. When Ari moved to New York, he made more friends..very funny comedian friends. With Ari’s endorsement he got Joe to put those friend’s on Joe’s podcast and boom, careers were made, saved and resurrected. People like Mark Normand, Joe List, Dan Soder, Big Jay Oakerson, Luis J Gomez, and Dave Smith were all introduced to Joe through Ari. These comics are all killing the underground scene, poised to be household names when comedy inevitably shifts back to the dark ages.

Ari didn’t forget about his L.A. comedian friends. He made sure they got in with his new community in New York as well. Old friends like Tony Hinchcliffe, Jayson Thibault, Sam Tripoli, and Bert Kreischer are almost all now touring the country (and some the world) as a result of their success on New York City podcasts and shows. This would have never happened without Ari’s backing. These comedians gained an entire new fanbase and opened up an entirely new market (the east coast) just by being associated with Ari. I’m simplifying their success way too much but even they would agree that Ari had a lot to do with bringing the two comedy communities together for the betterment of everyone.

I could go on and on about Ari but I feel like I’ve given you all enough of a reason to at least check out a few of his projects to get to know a little bit about why he’s such an important person in comedy. He’s not a household name because he doesn’t want to be but he’s a big reason why comedy is so good today. He’s free, principled and willing to do whatever it takes t get a laugh in the moment. Check out his podcast, Skeptic Tank and go see him live any chance you get.

You’re Better (Sober)

Please don’t get defensive. I know you’re an adult and you get things done but you’re WAY better sober. If you don’t think so, you’re lying to yourself. I don’t care what your chemical of choice is- whether it’s booze, weed, pills, powder, etc., you could be doing a lot more in life if you cut back or cut it out altogether. I go back and forth all the time as to whether or not I should be stone cold sober. I don’t think I have an addiction problem but I do think sometimes I let my vices get in the way of things.

“We all need something”. I hear that quote all the time when people try to rationalize their vices. It’s weak thinking. I think vices and virtues are two sides of the same coin. The more time and energy you spend flipped to the vice side, the less virtue. Even the most balanced people on earth can admit their vices create stagnation and even regression. So why do we continue to do things that don’t help us?

My main vice is pot. I’ve been smoking since I was 15 (I’m 27 now) and I’m not proud of it. I’m actually pretty embarrassed. I wish I would have waited for my brain to develop more before trying it. I feel like I should have grown out of wanting to be high and not present all the time at this point in my life. I know it holds me back. I took what should have been a fun high school phase way too far. Any uber-successful person I know doesn’t smoke pot and the people I do know who smoke way too much pot…drive for Uber.

I’m not a huge drinker but that’s because the after effects are rarely worth it. Sure, it helps you loosen up around people but let’s face it, you’re annoying as fuck when you’re drunk. You’re loud, dumb and not worried about how you come off or effect others. You wake up in the morning feeling like shit, concerned about actions from the night before for what? A couple hours of mindless distraction? We spend our money on overpriced booze, post way too many stories on Instagram and eat like shit to sop up the alcohol. What the fuck are we doing?!

I’m not here to preach or to make you feel bad but I know at least one of you out there needed to read this. You’re doing alright in life but you’re looking for that edge to put your over the top and in the place you really want to be. Do me a favor, quit your vice for  just a little bit. Start off with a week, then a month and then more and tell me your life hasn’t changed for the better. If you prove me wrong, I’ll take this post down and we’ll go get a beer together. Until then, we’ll see how my hypothesis sits…I think you’re better sober.

Big Me vs. Little Me

        My brain works better when I’m looking slightly forward. There’s a lot of “live in the moment” blather but the only reason a lot of these people choose to live “in the now” is because they made decisions in the past that afforded them the time and resources to do so. Those past actions were performed based on hope or a certain desired outcome…in the future.

I usually try to shy away from absolutes but ever since I’ve been back home, I feel like I’ve only noticed two types of people. There are the people working on themselves, looking towards the future and people still stuck on decisions and actions from the past. Maybe it’s just the people I’ve surrounded myself with but it’s obvious which tactic is working out for whom.

The big worry is that by looking too far in the future, we grow anxious and forget to appreciate and live in the moment. I think that logic should only apply in the moment.

I’ve heard a lot of talk about “big me” and “little me” lately. The gist is that there is a bigger part of yourself (usually rooted in some form of self-preservation) that looks at the overall picture and steers your lifeboat in accordance to your desired destination. “Big me” is creative yet goal oriented and wants to build. The smaller part of yourself, your “little me” looks within and is more virtuous in it’s approach to life. You need both, but not equally all the time. Right now I need my “big me” to steer full steam ahead.

Maybe for you, it’s “little me” season. You’ve pushed and pushed and right now is the time for introspection and confrontation of moral dilemmas that might be holding you back from performing when “big me” needs to put work in. It may help you honestly confront behaviors and balance out your perspective which then allow room for more relationships with not only other people but yourself. Your relationship with yourself permeates in to all others. My only advice would not to over indulge on the “little me” or you risk getting stuck in the past.

I don’t really like to do that thing where you summarize everything you just said and make it all cute like a bow on top at the end. All I’m saying is that for me, right now, it’s a good idea to tap in to my “big me” and look forward a little. That’s it.

 

Sources: Intro to The Road To Character by David Brooks