Posts Tagged ‘love’

After my first two weeks as a freshman English teacher (I was brand new to teaching and my students were brand new to high school), I witnessed a disturbing trend by my students.  Homework, tests, quizzes and projects, as it turned out, were gay.  Any time my students wanted to share their complete disdain for any type of work, they would immediately proclaim or mumble, “this is gay.”

I took offense to the statement and not because I had a special place in my heart for gay rights.  I have a special place in my heart for the rights of people and when young kids on the precipice of adulthood used gay as the term to describe something displeasing or unfavorable, the visceral reaction I had to students surprised me.  “Find another way of saying you don’t like something, people!  If you want to be viewed as adults, it is time to start acting like educated adults.”

After a few weeks of working on the abolition of “that’s gay” in my classroom, the turning point came once I put it into perspective.  I only had a few black students but in one particular class, I used race to put “that’s gay” into perspective.  I remember asking my students, “would you say, “that’s black,” if you didn’t like something?”  Immediately the lone black student in my class turned his head quickly and violently around the room to see if anyone would agree to that particular usage.  All of the students avoided eye contact and either looked down at their desks or as if they had never heard the question.

Thankfully or coincidentally, the quick lesson worked and when students would use the term in class, they would often correct themselves and even ask for a pardon from the universe as they would say, “sorry, I meant to say…”

Ignorant speech and views starts when we are all pretty ignorant to the world around us.  Kids, especially, are rooting through this world trying to understand how life works and where and how they fit in.  Hell, a great many adults are still searching for themselves; I know I am.  All of this is anecdotal  and germane to one incredible experience that came to full fruition this past Saturday.

A friend of mine a few months back came to me, after finding out that I was ordained and could perform wedding ceremonies, and asked if I would officiate her wedding.  Her fiancee is a wonderful person too.  Together, they exude the kind of love and passion for each other that so many people pine for in their lives.  The way they look at each other and how in a crowded room, you can see them searching for each other in order to just share a smile.  They are sentimental, emotional, dedicated people that love each other in a profoundly inspiring way.  Oh, right, I almost forgot, they’re gay.10624776_879633068251_279711591266471520_n

Regretfully, when I was twelve years old, my friends and I would prank call a gay bar where I lived.  We would ask, “Is Phil there?  Phil MyButtUp!”  Things that, even though I was only twelve, still bother me that I ever existed in a place where that seemed comical.  Luckily, I had the kind of relationship with my Mom where I would tell her about all of the things I did: good, bad, sensitive, insensitive, and even outright ignorant.

In one of her many sage like moments, my Mom turned to me and asked, “would you want to be something where people would be ignorant towards you?  Would you choose to be something where others would make fun of you, act differently towards you, or discriminate you?”  She looked at me and immediately I understood her point.  “No, I wouldn’t,” I replied. “Then think about what you think is funny and then really think if it is funny or you’re trying to be funny at someone else’s expense.”  Damn, I thought.  Moms always have a way of putting things into perspective.

This past Saturday I had the opportunity to act as the officiant in my first wedding ever.  I did not lament over what I was going to say, though I did fret over the words because I wanted my friends, Sarah and Katie, to have a ceremony that they would never forget.  Standing before her friends and family, I felt that lump begin to swell in my throat.  I was far from nervous; I was moved.

10685485_10100698714348029_3080044461057064068_nWhen Katie and Sarah finally made their way to where I was standing, I could see their eyes filled with palpable passion, love, and of course, tears.  They could finally do the one thing that this country, a country that prides itself on individual freedoms and liberties, fought so long and hard to keep from happening.  Passion beat policy and over a hundred people bore witness to the power of love and resilience.  As a heterosexual male, I do not and cannot imagine what it would be like to be told I could not love someone because others had an issue with whom I directed my affection and adoration.

We all play a part in how effective love and kindness can be in this world.  Ultimately, there’s a lesson to be learned in how we treat those that do not follow the scripts that we follow in life.  Homophobia is not bred through one particular sect of thought.  Its genesis is in ignorance begetting ignorance.  It manifests when the company a person keeps continues to drive home a point of intolerance and the inability to differentiate between their life and someone else’s life.  When people decide that love provides not only a safe place for individuals to lay their hearts but a place where people can simply be themselves, we take steps in battling the provincial thoughts of those that appear to need more love in their life.

I will never change anyone’s views by saying what I believe.  I will change minds by living out my views.  Sarah and Katie asked me to be part of a moment that, as I said to those in attendance, could not be justified by any words that I spoke that day.  We needed only look at Sarah and Katie together and to witness the truth in what we believe.  While I often wish the world would stop long enough to admire each moment as unique and authentic, it may play a little part in what made Saturday so magical.  Outside of the Autumn oasis that Sarah and Katie created for their family and friends, was a world waiting to remind us of the long road so many people must travel.

However, tucked away in the Germantown section of Philadelphia are fifty five acres of endless memories.  We need only return there in our thoughts to have all of our senses brought back to life and to remind us of what perfect looks and feels like.  I will never forget my two friends; surrounded by bales of hay, loving family and friends, and an infinite supply of hope and victory to fuel us for a lifetime.  I may never change someone’s mind by what I’ve said or written, but if I lead through my experiences in life, September 20th, 2014 marks the day when I witnessed hope evolve into reality!

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.”

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.

Beautiful…

Posted: January 23, 2012 in Uncategorized
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My wife has spent the last eight hours tucked away in the bedroom as she covers the weekend shift for her job. Each phone call adds to a tremendous amount of paperwork she must complete. Women ask what’s sexy to a man; the answer is not as complicated as Hollywood and beauty magazines make it out to be.

Sexy is a woman that works hard. When a woman maintains a household, supports her man, and gives her all to a profession she so adamantly believes in; I call that beautiful!

When a woman rolls into bed in a pair of sweatpants and can still give you that smile that melts you, I call that beautiful.

Beautiful is relative to the woman. When the size of a woman’s breasts establishes the value of her beauty, then you are simply listening to the opinion of a single individual. Beautiful to me is my wife.

Don’t get me wrong; there are a litany of entertainers that I could rattle off that I find sexy and beautiful. The point is that my fantasies include the beautiful woman that sleeps just inches away from me.

No pants or shoes have ever made a woman beautiful. Those items are merely ornaments to the individual. When a man finds himself captivated by a woman, he has never acknowledged your Jimmy Choo’s or your brand new jeans. Beautiful is how she feels in those jeans and shoes.

I know this isn’t the typical ramblings of a comedian but I know far too many women loathe things they see in the mirror. The next time you find yourself struggling with something staring back at you, remember that superseding all that is wrong are so many things that are right.

The beautiful part of beauty is that with time the things that are wrong and right will fade away but your essence may remain forever beautiful.