Archive for February, 2012

I appreciate the pomp and circumstance that goes into President’s Day.  The sales at mattress stores, furniture stores, car dealers, and the mall in general.  What better way to show your patriotism and affection for Presidents by spending money.  If you’re like my wife and I, you bought on credit and continued the vicious cycle of keeping yourself barely impoverished (at least we’ll have fine mocha, microfiber couches to be poor on.)

America is wrought with revisionist history.  We turn curmudgeons into demagogues, slave owners into saviors, and silver spooned, trust fund babies into the stuff Horatio Alger books are based.  I don’t mind twisting reality to get to a place where we can all feel comfortable, but to completely ignore the histories of our Presidents is down right blasphemy.  That is what is wrong with President’s Day; we celebrate the lives of fictional characters.  Come to think of it, we embody Uncle Sam, perpetuate the Santa myth to our children, embrace a giant Bunny, believe in flying fat kids with bows and arrows, accept ghouls and goblins into our homes, and the two real people/groups we accept are both known for being disease spreading, land and women raping figures known as the Pilgrims and Columbus.  I digress…

America is not a great country; we are a country filled with great potential.  We get in our own way, we listen to the rhetoric and opinion of others and like little minions we spread their word; changing the verbiage along the way, we staunchly defend our, I mean, the opinions of others that we so greatly admire and appreciate.  When we cite the Constitution and have sent men and women off to die in the pursuit of preserving our right to freedom of speech, we sadly go off into this world regurgitating the words of others.  This is what freedom of speech means?

The ACLU has no problem getting to the root of what our Constitution states.  They strip law naked; bare and exposed the truth of the Constitution is broken down into the simplistic form that it was written.  When our country is filled with adults that are so poorly educated that they cannot understand the rudimentary principles of the Constitution, they know its tenets but they do not understand for whom it was written.  The masses; from the elitist to the disenfranchised, the on the cusp of wealth to on the fringe of poverty, the Constitution was written for us all.

When we celebrate President’s Day, let us acknowledge the follies and foibles of our leaders.  If we do not learn from their mistakes, thus negating the overwhelming power of knowing and understanding history, we merely repeat our decision to elect leaders that only stand for those things that wholly effect them.  Taking the oath to uphold the very fibers of democracy we have so very intricately rewoven with loopholes, status-quo edicts, and revisions of law, we are now dangerously close to the precipice of collapse.  No, America will not crumble and become a pathway for Europeans that will walk amongst our ruins.  Instead, America is a living, breathing entity that will purge itself from time to time.  We cannot call ourselves great until the lot of Americans can feel great once again.

Perhaps trite and romantic, I would rather idealize America’s potential than to become another revisionist that paves the way for future leaders to assume greatness simply because they earned a particular title.  Accountable is precisely what all civil servants in government should remain.  They pass down NCLB and expect teachers to literally reach perfection.  Where is the law that says an official may only hold an office for so long until their time has run out and they must make way for another.  I am not talking about term limits.  I am talking about critical analysis that proves once and for all whether the very individuals that tell us one thing and do another are worthy of their titles.  I’m not saying I’m for a revolution that requires bullets and death; I am for the kind of revolution that is cerebral and honest.  Honesty, at one point time, truly was the best policy.  Happy President’s Day.

-Chris Smith

http://www.comedianchrissmith.com

There are cheats, liars, embellishers, cons, BS’ers, smooth talkers, pathological nutbags, and straight up wastes of oxygen and flesh that roam this Earth.  It is a tremendously hard pill to swallow and I look forward to the optimists that try to show me the good in the world.  I know there is good in the world.  I know it because I am surrounded by individuals that try to develop the depth of character and soul that so many individuals in this world lack.  I love meeting new and interesting people; I just have a much shorter attention span for the aforementioned that want to brow beat you with their awesomeness!

As a comedian, I have realized that I hate comedians.  The persona on stage may be fantastic; however, it is the miserable curmudgeons and sensitive pricks that they turn to off stage that makes them wholly intolerable.  Comedians are sad, despondent, self-hating, bullshitters that in the midst of their self deprecating style of humor will let you know every single tidbit of information that makes them awesome.  If you are not a comedian, you are probably wondering what I mean by all of this.  Let’s put this into perspective…

You go to invest in a bank and instead of having to deal with one individual from the bank, all of the bank workers descend upon you and they are all telling you how great they are at managing money.  Sadly, you realize you’re at a TD Bank and you realize that if they were any good, they would be at an investment firm, not a place with a drive through teller.  Comedians, regardless of where they are performing, will always let you know how awesome they are.

I am awesome.  If I didn’t believe I was awesome, I would be ineffective on the stage.  However, I also recognize the awesomeness and douchiness of others.  At the New Orleans Comedy Festival, I realized the ratio of douche to cool comics was sadly at a 10:1 ratio.  I know that sounds bad and I’m sure a few of them will read this and will wonder, “Did he think I was a douche?”  Probably, yes!  It’s not that I am intolerant of differing personalities; it is that I have grown unaffected by the self righteous ass-clowns that are as entertaining as a knock-knock joke!

There are those that forget that they are not always on stage.  I understand that we are in the business of making people laugh, but I also am in the business of being myself.  That is when you accept yourself for who you are.  Are there changes to be made?  Absolutely, and if you believe that you don’t have changes to make then you really should just check out and make way for someone else in this world.  Harsh?  No, it’s called truth and some people don’t like the truth because the old cliche is true…the truth hurts.

When individuals want to impress another with their possessions, we easily cast them off as they are nothing more than sad little turdfarmers trying to cultivate enough turds to look and sound impressive.  In High School, a classmate drove a Lexus.  Now, I would have shown an incredible amount of respect for this person if he bought the car on his own.  Sadly, his Daddy bought for him.  Then we blur the lines of jealousy and wonder, do I really not like this person because of what he has and I am jealous of his possessions, or is his character so flawed that we all recognize that persons level of pomposity and  would  rather eat razor blades than listen to one more ski trip story?  This is usually the super-model girlfriend having guy but she’s from Sweden type person.  He rationalizes that it is better that he does not have any photos of her because she is so beautiful, that when photos of her are taken, all that can be seen is a blinding white light that will burn your retinas.  Pathological by design, pathetic by nature.

Men are not the only ones that are guilty of perpetrating a false sense of identity into the world.  After an hour of morning grooming, there are women in this world that so falsely advertise who they are that when the make up comes off, the outfit is removed, the shoes are kicked off, all you are left with is a rolled out piece of silly putty that possesses the ability to speak.  The battle of the sexes need not be a battle, but when a woman comes prepared to fight with six inch heels and scores of Bobbi Brown make-up, she quickly becomes a cunning adversary.  You think you are ready to duke it out with a woman that looks like Giselle, but by the end she looks like a gazelle.

Fake people make up a tremendous part of the population.  I do not fault the individual for bending the truth and fixing the imperfections.  However, when a person recognizes that they have patched up quite a few holes in the proverbial tire that is who they are, there is no reason to perpetuate the myth any further.  When individuals pick on others to make themselves feel better, we call them bullies.  When people pick on themselves to make others feel better, we call them comedians.  When a person fraudulently puts out into this world a persona that is not truly who they are, we just resort to calling them people.  That is the sad reality of internal integrity; we accept things for face value.

If face value was how we operated this world, there would not be huge discrepancies between what people make.  If we did things according to face value, an individual could go see a movie and after that movie walk up to roll call and say, I want half of my money back because that movie was half way decent.  Imagine those individuals coming out of the theater after Waterworld.  “Excuse me, I’d like all of my money back and while you’re at it, throw me another twenty dollars for enduring that flaccid piece of whale spunk.”  Face value would crumble our economy.

If face value were real, lawyers would be obsolete.  “Your honor, this person side swiped my car, there was $5,000 in damage, I was out of work for six months, which is the equivalent of $25,000, and my wife and I argued for six months because we were broke, I would say that’s another $100,000.”  The judge would take it into consideration, the insurance company would write the check right there, and everyone would just go home.  Instead, there are scheming individuals that find ways to up the ante so they can up their take home.  If it is what it is, then it should come out exactly what it is.

If face value were real, teachers and policemen would be millionaires, and rich, ass-hats like Bill Gates and the Facebook kid would make enough to get by.  There is a price on what we value in this country and if it means bigger, better, and faster, then we are all for it.  Those with little to no internal integrity would continue to develop products that we want and do not need and eventually, we would all recognize humility is far more valuable than Hummers, love is infinitely more priceless than Gucci, your child’s baseball coach is paramount to learning life lessons while Coach is merely the product that your child covets.

“If it’s change you seek, start from within.  Once you’re comfortable with who you’ve become, start over and recognize perfection is a pursuit, not an end result.”

Laughing is not hard to do; unless you are of the variety of individuals that likes to look at the world, grimace with disdain and bitch about everything that you see.  Let’s be honest, there is no shortage of things to detest, loathe, and scorn.  Nicki Minaj, Chris Brown, the entire cast of Jersey Shore, Rick Santoroum, Newt Gingrich, George Bush, Barack Obama, Nancy Pelosi, ignorant pet owners that let their dogs dump in your yard, the youth, the elderly, racists, bigots, the Kardashians, whiny wide receivers, people that refuse to use turn signals, little people that get bent over the use of the term “midget,” homophobes that cite “moral corruption” as their hate, Occupy protestors that somehow equate bathing to a capitalist agenda, anyone suffering from “Linsanity,” politically correct ne’er-do-wells, trust fund babies, feminists that scoff at someone holding the door for them, Hollywood for thei trite, recycled garbage, swimsuit models that have impeccable bodies and “don’t work so good” brains, and the human race as a whole.

There, I got a short list off of my chest but the reality is we all need to slow down long enough to laugh at the world around us.  If we become consumed by always espousing hate and discontent, then we miss the opportunities to laugh.  Did you know that every time you laugh, a baby in Africa is fed?  Wait, that’s not right.  Every time you laugh, a landmine is cleared from war torn cities in Eastern Europe.  Damn it, that’s not right either!  Laughing is good for the soul….yeah, that sounds right!

However, before we go and get ourselves drunk on laughter, let’s really think about the last time we laughed hard and NOT at the expense of another.  It is difficult to do when there is a classic climbing the stairs and missed the last step moment that occurs every thirteen seconds (not a number I researched but I figure if men think about sex every six seconds, then we are not thinking about that last step.)

Oh, but Chris, we can’t laugh at the misfortune of others, can we?  Yes, because I would rather laugh at unfortunate moments than be the person that remains silently grateful that I do not live an existence like so many in this world.

A few weeks ago, while sitting in a pizza joint in North Philly, a homeless man approached the window adjacent to the table where I enjoyed a great lunch and great company.  My coworker and I were having a great conversation when a man approached the window and began to yell at the top of his lungs.  I do not speak crazy-homeless-ese, but I knew eye contact was the last thing I needed to do.  My coworker did not feel the same and set up one of the most epic unintelligible conversations ever shared between three people.  After a solid two minutes of rumblings and mumblings, the homeless man bellowed out, “I’m F&*$in hungry!”  As a fat man, I dug what the man put out there.  Sadly, I scarfed my food down in record time.  My coworker had a half eaten cheesesteak and the man pointed at the food while repeating his proclamation from earlier.  I delivered the cheesesteak and without missing a beat, asked about my soda.  There, in that moment, I had to laugh.  While providing a meal to the man, he proved he had no shame in his game.  I swapped out straws as if sanitary practices was this man’s first concern.  I laughed.  I am still laughing.  Call me what you will, but I had to laugh because it was in that man’s misfortune that something laughable occurred.

While driving to work last week, I found myself behind one of those individuals that littered their bumper with stickers that claimed tolerance, love, and coexistence.  Clearly not in a hurry to get to where she was headed, acceleration did not exist in her vocabulary.  A few miles down the road, after a litany of cars merged between myself and this person, a little bumper nudging occurred and off to the side of the road she and the person that hit her car were engaged in a truly comical tirade.  Not once did I see her exhibit tolerance, love, or coexistence.  I chuckled and drove on.

In New York, an ad for Jeremy Lin, the Taiwanese-American future superstar (I say this tongue-in-cheek) has his face sprouting from a fortune cookie with the slogan, “The Knicks Good Fortune.”  Again, I’m not for political correctness.  I am, however, in favor of good taste and definitely a believer that what is good for the goose is definitely good for the gander.  Would America scoff if an Irish-American superstar sprung into the spotlight and had an ad with him wading in a pint of Guiness with the tagline, “Mics love the Knicks” would go over as well?  We cannot get upset at one thing and then be okay with another.  Racial and ethnic intolerance is partly to blame for our country’s inability to experience cultural, economic, and dare I say it, spiritual growth.

When we stop long enough to laugh for the sake of laughing, we do so in an unadulterated kind of way.  We laugh heartily and mightily; the thought of assessing what makes us laugh is not something we do right before we laugh.  If it is funny to you, then laugh.  Oh, and do yourself a favor, please?  The next time someone says something to offend you, laugh at the person.  Do not laugh at WHAT they say, laugh at their existence because it is okay to laugh at another persons misfortune.  What is their misfortune?  They are stuck with themselves for the rest of their lives:  Just be happy you’re not them!

 

Chris Brown’s Take On His Tattoos

Posted: February 11, 2012 in Uncategorized

Chris Smith

I shared an inexplicable evening with my daughters tonight. Sure, I won a round of Twister (don’t ask how), laughed at dinner with all three of my daughters, and once again fell in love with my wife. Here in our humble little abode is an energy; the love of life and all of its pitfalls and travails sweep through our lives. I felt like a good husband, a good father, and a good man.

I have two daughters and a stepdaughter. All three of these perfect little creations are also monstrous pains in the ass. They get it honestly as I am a monstrous pain in the ass myself. Regardless, I enjoyed one of those moments where fatherhood tested my mettle and I came out a different man.

My oldest daughter is a sensitive soul. Her eyes are two giant bay windows, curtains wide open, and the life inside her…

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I shared an inexplicable evening with my daughters tonight. Sure, I won a round of Twister (don’t ask how), laughed at dinner with all three of my daughters, and once again fell in love with my wife. Here in our humble little abode is an energy; the love of life and all of its pitfalls and travails sweep through our lives. I felt like a good husband, a good father, and a good man.

I have two daughters and a stepdaughter. All three of these perfect little creations are also monstrous pains in the ass. They get it honestly as I am a monstrous pain in the ass myself. Regardless, I enjoyed one of those moments where fatherhood tested my mettle and I came out a different man.

My oldest daughter is a sensitive soul. Her eyes are two giant bay windows, curtains wide open, and the life inside her mind is flushed through those two orbs. I can read her eyes, her body language, and the absence of energy that flows through her like sunlight making its way through lace curtains. Her little heart sits dangerously low on her sleeve, a reminder of the little man that I came to be early in life. I often want to tuck her emotions back up her sleeve. Parents should want more for their children and I know the hardships that heart-on-the-sleeve wearers must endure.

Fresh off of their mothers recent engagement, my youngest feigned excitement and spoke on her “happiness.” For weeks, my little girl navigated this world with a weight on her shoulders, bearing her own fear for the sake of maintaining her mother’s joy. I could not speak, I could not offer solace; I could merely watch as she realized her tears were appreciated and her heart would never be safer.

Strewn across my bed like a couple of girlfriends trading secrets, I asked about her. I inquired about things that were not intended to pry. Rather, my questions were to open up the lines of communication that we quickly lose once they reach their teenage years. As I listened to my daughter cry, revealing her biggest fears and silly concerns, I heard John Mayer singing in the back of my mind.

We cannot allow our children to grow up without first realizing that we are the lock-boxes of secrets, the handlers of dreams, proprietors of potential, and the first man our daughters will love without question. As fathers seek ways to be there for their daughters, remember that you are as much a reflection of parenthood as you are the setter of examples of exactly what our little girls deserve. “Fathers be good to your daughters.”

One day, the little hand that barely wraps around your finger will one day grab your hand as you cross the street. Before you know it, picking them up becomes as much of a workout as it is a sign of affection. Then, you hear your little girl talking about boys and before we can wrap our minds around the thought of our little girls growing up, they look us right in the eye and a timeline of life flashes before our eyes.

Be good to your daughters. Remind them that for as much as they may question themselves each day, Daddy will always know best. And what exactly does Daddy know? Daddy knows that his little girl will be just fine when they are all grown up because we loved our little girls the best way that we could.