I Ain’t LL… So Call It A Comeback!

December 2008, Christmas Eve morning somewhere over Indiana I was done.  I was not feeling it and I was mad at myself.  So I quit.  The previous five days I had performed, every show was blah to me.  What made it worse was I was doing a week at the club I considered my “home” club.  Though I did not start there, when I moved there they were the first club to believe in me and push me to other clubs.  They believed in me and a week I was scheduled to perform for them, I was not giving them my all.  Again, I was done.

The most consistent dream of mine and the one that was within my grasp since the first time I snuck a listen of a Richard Pryor tape was to be a standup comic, as of December 2008 I was a comic and that was the only money I had coming in.  So my living was that of a standup comic, I had essentially reached my dream. I was not famous, had no credits, but I had enough work coming in to eat.  What was my problem?  I was faking it.  I was not talking about anything worth talking about; nothing was my voice except for the first 5 minutes I was on stage.  The only material I had that came directly from my life experiences were in the first 5 minutes and I killed the first 5 minutes EVERY NIGHT!  Any comic will tell you to get the crowd in the palm of your hands in the first few minutes makes everything else a breeze.

The rest of my stuff was funny, but not me, and it ate at me every night.  I had bits that kept the crowd with me, could give it to any heckler, and a closer that never failed.  Unfortunately, I was hoping for hecklers so I could shoot off the top of my head and improvise two minutes of jokes and insults so I could knock out a couple of jokes that ate at my soul to tell again.  There is great joy for a comic when you can riff and get a laugh, that’s when comedy becomes jazz, you are in the moment, and everything in the room becomes one.  Unfortunately for me, I was working clubs now where I was known and it was made clear to people, by others, when I was on stage it could turn into a very embarrassing situation for you and nobody wants to be in the middle of a situation.  So speaking when I had a mic in my hand, or yelling at me in the middle of  line, was only for those very secure with themselves and nobody is that secure outside of Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant.

Saturday night, I am sitting in the lobby of the hotel waiting for the very funny and nice Dwight Slade to come downstairs so we could roll out to the club and knock out two more shows.  Dwight noticed I was not ‘here’ and instead of waving me over so we could leave, he sat down in the seat next to me and asked “you alright”?  I told him I was not feeling my act.  He assured me I was funny and I the crowds were getting me.  I told him “no, except for my opening bit… I don’t believe anything I am saying and it is killing me”.  Dwight said “you might wanna take a break… after this week of course”.

So flying to Chicago for the holidays, over Indianapolis looking at downtown (where I had performed many times, as much as any place in the country)… I quit.  For some reason I decided I was going to work with kids in Chicago and for the last 4 years, I have done just that.  I have worked in some of the worse schools this country has to offer.  I have sat across from kids that would not live to sit across from me again.  I have seen what rough is and changed a life or two in the process.  I have experienced more pain and frustration.  I have been treated as if I am a threat because of my intelligence and as a joke (ironically) because of perceived lack of it.  I have lost more people who I love, but gained people who will love me unconditionally.

What I missed from comedy was a life to talk about.  So like Richard Pryor, who once walked away from comedy to observe and write about a life he could relate to, I walked away to live.  I now have a life, I now have a voice.  My brain is giving me jokes again, not lines that are funny but jokes that are twisted and express my thought process.  My jokes now are not clever; I am too old to be clever.  If I was a 22-year-old kid, I would need to be clever because I would not have done a damn thing worth talking about.  I am a college graduate, with years of work experience, a family to take care of, who has lost more people along the way other than an Iraq War Veteran.  I really do not care about what people care about what I say and I do not care if it offends anyone.  I have the truth, in the reality of my life, to talk about and that is where a comic lives and breaths, in the truth.

The gloves are off; I do not expect anything from a club, an agent, or a manager.  I want to get on stage and speak from my heart; I will be relentless and unapologetic.  You only get to come back once… So with that, like Jordan… appropriately, I’m BACK!  Back in the city I started in, Chicago… I am going to put the city on my back and take it with me wherever I go.  This time believing in every word I say and not protecting my pain or insecurities.  You’ll see me soon…


Happy Black History Month!! Today We Salute… Nurse Mary Shole

Nurse Mary Shole on April 29, 2010 was forced to work a second shift, in Labor and Delivery, even though there were more than enough nurses on staff that evening.  Nurse Shole was hoping to leave on time, the night before she caught her boyfriend cheating on her, with the assistance of Joey Greco and the TV show Cheaters.

Nurse Shole’s head was hurting, not from the long day or the stress from catching her boyfriend cheating, but from the right hook she caught from the big chick her man was caught with.  Nurse Shole spent much of the day trying to find a quiet dark room, lying about her black eye, and submitting resumes to new jobs in hopes of avoiding being embarrassed in front of her co-workers the day after that episode of Cheaters airs.  Nurse Mary Shole was having a rough day on April 29, 2010.

Nurse Mary Shole on April 29, 2010 assisted in the birth of a little girl.  Although this was a difficult task considering Nurse Shole was hoping to have a child with her boyfriend, it did help that the baby’s father of this child was nowhere to be seen.  Nurse Shole was only 31-years-old, still young enough to have children however when she took the punch to the head from the big chick her boyfriend was cheating on her with Nurse Shole was pretty sure she could feel it in her uterus.  Nurse Shole simply assisted the doctor and regular nurses in Labor and Delivery and was charged with getting vitals and information of the baby.

When Nurse Shole asked what the baby’s name was this when her courage under fire was displayed.  The mom of the baby girl replied “Diamondniqua Chardanay” without hesitation Nurse Shole jumped into action and slapped the shit out of the mother and called a social worker to remove this child from the custody of her parent, because the mother was obviously crazy. We will never know why Nurse Shole made the brave choice to save this child from a future of Human Resource departments throwing her resume out, only after reading her name.

Was it Nurse Mary Shole’s belief that made up ghetto names are a crime to the child, her desire to see Black people recognize that a child’s name should not be a curse on their life, the blow she took to the head the night before.  Whatever it was that made Nurse Shole respond this way did two things:  It saved a child from going through awkward moments while a substitute teacher taking attendance had to take an additional 15 seconds trying to sound hers out and it got Nurse Mary Shole fired, so she didn’t have to see her co-workers when her episode of Cheaters was aired 8 months later.  The state assumed responsibility in naming the child.  Unfortunately the baby girl became the first girl named Gladys since The Pips cosigned for Ms. Knight on Midnight Train to Georgia.

Today we honor Nurse Mary Shole, parents that name their children sensible names and the television show Cheaters.  Cheaters has featured more people with names ending in –iesha, -iqua, -ondra, and –gelo than any other show in American History.  Here’s to you Nurse Shole, hope the swelling went down.

HAPPY BLACK HISTORY MONTH!!! Today We Salute Flava Aid

HAPPY BLACK HISTORY MONTH! Flava Aid, not KOOL AID. You did not notice when mom started buying cheaper meat or the off brand vanilla cream cookies or saltines instead of Ritz, but when you saw Flava Aid instead of Kool Aid you knew your family had some money problems.

That day you helped your mother with the groceries, you put the pork steaks instead of the usual pot roast in the freezer without a question.  Grabbed the store brand loaf of bread out the bag, not once did you question where the Wonder or Sara Lee bread is at.  But when you pulled out 50 packs of Flava Aid instead of the 20 packs of Kool Aid you became use to, you screamed out “Flava Aid… why you being so cheap?  What you be doing with your money?”  Learning two very important lessons at that moment, your mother has a serious left hook and don’t ever question her about how she spends her money.  The next thing that crosses your mind, after  you stop seeing stars, is that times is rough and how can this happen to your family.  You go to church, you don’t steal anything other than your neighbors cable and they are tapped into their neighbor’s cable so the original sin is on them anyway.

The Flava Aid revelation now has you more than interested in stock market ticker at the bottom of that one  boring channel you zoom by on your way to watch BET.  Unfortunately you don’t know what Kool Aid’s ticker symbol is, so your theory that the cost of Kool Aid has sky rocketed will remain unfounded.

“WHY DID MOMMY NOT INVEST IN KOOL AID???  We would be rich; I would be belly deep in purple Kool Aid right now if she did.”

That’s okay the president speaks tonight to the nation, he will surely address the rising cost of high quality drink mixes.  At 8:00 PM that night, you are in front of the television with an ice cold glass of water (you’re still not a hundred percent sure of that cheap stuff)…

“Mr. President, I could sure use your leadership right now.  War?  Crimes against humanity?  The right thing to do?  Man please… who elected this clown!  My mommy can’t afford my drank, deal with the issues man!  I can’t wait until I can vote.”

The next day you are at school, in English class your teacher asks you to draft a letter to someone you miss.  Your letter to the “Hey Kool Aid Man” is heartfelt, emotional… you get a “B” on it, but your teacher writes a referral to the school social worker about possible ‘issues’. You do not have time to talk answer questions from a professional about ‘uncles’ and point at puppets, you have to get to Chemistry class.  Dammit you will make your own Kool Aid!  How hard can it be?  Sugar, ground up Jolly Ranchers, and water… off you go!

Okay, that didn’t work out Kool Aid is not as easy as you thought it would be and while trying to ground up the Jolly Ranchers into a fine powdery substance, a piece broke off and hit that slow kid in his eye.

“Detention, I have to serve detention for trying to help financially challenged kids.  Oh well, Martin Luther King went to jail for his beliefs, an hour in the library for mine is worth it if it means a better life for all.”

Heck, half your friends are in detention so not so bad.  Plus, you all can kick it at your house after school, play Nintendo, and drink Kool… FUUUUUUUUUGGGGGGG.  Now you have 4 thirsty and judgmental ‘friends’ on their way to your house and they keep asking if you have red or green Kool Aid in the fridge.  You cannot stand privileged kids.  The fear that you feel creeping up on you as you near your house is only trumped by your outrage at the government for allowing it’s citizens to reach such levels of poverty.

You arrive at home with 4 ‘rich kids’ following you, your mom meets you at the door.  No company!!! Punishment???  Yes, I am on punishment!  Awesome.  I had to deal with a backhand left hand from mom and a possible concussion… but questioning where mom’s money was going has turned out to be an ego saving move.

“Bye… I gotta go clean my room and take out the garbage.  Thank God!”

Next day at school you figure the need to take interest in history class for the first time.  You want to know about the history of Kool Aid, which excites the class.  Everybody wants to talk about Kool Aid.  Who wouldn’t, until one kid asks the teacher if it is true that a man killed a bunch of people by poisoning their Kool Aid.  WHAT???  The teacher tells the class that the incident was at Jonestown and adds an interesting note about what they were drinking, “people for years have said it was Kool Aid they mixed up, actually it was Flava Aid”… you’re definitely not drinking that shit now.  And how stupid were those people to follow a broke cult.  If you ever join a cult they will have a lot of money and if you ever notice them switching out the Kool Aid for Flava Aid you know what’s going down and that the guy next to you is welcome to your glass.

Eventually, your mom pulls into the driveway with a small bag of Kool Aid and all is well again.  You’re not going to lose the house, you won’t have to spend your weekends walking around town with a stolen cart from the local Safeway collecting aluminum cans on the side of the road.  You can sleep peacefully again, knowing that your family has survived a serious financial crisis.  So on this 3rd day of Black History Month we salute Flava Aid, knock off drink mix, the drink of choice of deranged insecure cult leaders everywhere, and economic indicator for little Black kids.

Be A Black Republican… Hmmm

“I want to thank you, Mr. Speaker, for putting Mr. Juan Williams in his place.”

-Some random person to Newt

The Newtster decided he would push out his belief that Black kids do not have a work ethic.  Republicans ate it up.  He then decides he would say that Blacks should not accept food stamps but ask for pay checks.  Man is this a freaking buffet?  EAT IT UP Grand Old Party!!  They are, it has been pretty well-known that you do not make comments about people from other races, specifically White to Black, about being ‘put in your place’.  Man this feels good, this is the America I know and love, White people saying things with a Southern twang that makes the hairs on the back of my neck stand up and make me check the front of my house for burning crosses in the lawn.

“I don’t want to make black people’s lives better by giving them somebody else’s money.”

-Rick Santorum

Damn Opie, you cooked something too?  This is the greatest Pot-Luck ever!!!  Even though you claim you did not say ‘Black’, there a few words I know when I hear a White person say them, one is ‘Black’ the other two begin with the letter ‘N’ and one of them is ‘NO’.

Oh you thought this country was past racism, you thought President Obama was the end of it?  This is just the beginning.  Embrace it, love it, these are the good ol’ days again.  This is what this country is built on, hate.  Sad thing is the Republicans were the party of choice for Blacks, and not too long ago.

Events can be targeted that can explain why the African-American community started off as Republicans, gradually, then sharply went to become Democrats.

First, Republican President Abraham Lincoln ‘freed’ the slaves.  No United States President has done more to get the Black vote than this and this is hard to top.  Bill Clinton put on some shades  and played sax on Arsenio, but that can’t come close to what Lincoln accomplished.  Even if it was a calculated move to get more troops for the North, former slaves couldn’t sign up to fight fast enough.  “What we’re free, Abraham Lincoln freed us?  I am about to go sign up and join his army… right after I slap master’s wife on her fat ass and wink at her.”

Second, Democratic President Franklin D. Roosevelt put people to work regardless of color.  Even though we were put out of work as soon as the troops got back home (Last Hired/First Fired… read about it if you went to public schools and your History text books were old and only went to 1938), it was nice to be able to afford both bread and salami.  Mrs. Roosevelt put some social programs in place that allowed Black people to get involved in issues and voice our opinion.  Thanks to the bread and salami money, we were able to bring a sandwich with us for lunch on those all day events hosted by the first lady.

Third, Democratic President Harry S. Truman said Black people should be able to fight in Europe, then along=side Whites in Korea.  Okay, this one is similar to Lincoln, getting stretched too thin and then North Korea decides they want to slap the USA around a bit… we never turn down the opportunity to serve our country.  Thanks President Lincoln and President Truman for giving us the opportunity to show we can die just like a White soldier.

Finally, and this is the sharp turn…  Presidents John F. Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson put their support behind the Civil Rights movement.  Though, John F. Kennedy was a little slow in making moves, there have been rumors that he was attracted to Coretta Scott-King and thought finally having a sit down with this Rev. King fella might not be such a bad idea, if it means getting to meet the wife.  Real talk, brothers could understand this, because we were looking at Jackie Kennedy and saying “I’d hit that”!  Lyndon Johnson got so sick and tired of his fellow Southern Democrats questioning his loyalty, actions, and threatening not to support him for re-election he signed the Voting Rights Act as a huge middle finger to them, after that the Democrats could do no wrong to Black people.

Unfortunately, this caused a political problem for Black people.  We have voted for Democrats in one huge 90% plus ‘block’ that they could depend on without much effort.  The Left could sell us out on legislation with a smirk that screamed ‘what you gonna do, vote for them’?  Chuck D warned us on Can’t Truss It:

“Beware of the hand/When it’s coming from the LEFT”

Why should Republicans listen to the Black community, we are not going to vote for them and there seems to be more votes in not supporting us than in working with us.  Can’t really fault them for this, can you?  The best thing you could say about Republicans is they at least showed enough respect to us to limit their outright racism to one remark a week.  Forget that, there are votes in back-handed comments towards Black people.  The beauty of this new attack against the Black community is that they are framing it like they want to help us.

We have no work ethic!!!  Heard of slavery?  Nobody has worked that hard since Noah had to finish that boat before the rain started.

You want us to earn a check instead of getting food stamps!!!  We want you to hire us.

Crazy thing about the race issues the Republican Party has presented recently, I am 821 words into writing this and have not mentioned anything about Ron Paul until word 833.  Congressman Paul’s are outlandish, very outlandish… Unlike many people, I do not think Ron Paul is a secret Klan member.  I think he may actually still own slaves.  How else can he still have the ‘rebellious negro’ image in his head unless he has to constantly deal with run-aways, uprisings, and the occasional “Mandingo/daughter” incidents.

The door was so wide-open for comments like these to be made about Black people, the Republicans had to speak to Wal-Mart about how they handle the Black Friday midnight rush so not too people got trampled in the run on their ‘Roll-back’ sale on racism.  Who is to blame for this?  Black people… hush, hush DAMMIT!!!!  Yes I said it, Black people are to blame for this.  As a community we got so outraged in President Obama’s first year in office every time someone said something negative about him we accused them of racism and by March of 2010 we were exhausted.

Case and point, by the time Rep. Doug Lamborn used “tar baby” in reference to PRESIDENT Obama last July; Black people didn’t have enough energy, as a collective, to even see if Al Sharpton made an appointment with his hair dresser to touch up his perm for the press conference denouncing the congressman’s statement.  Republicans sat and waited for their beating, knew it was justified, and were going to take all they had coming.  Take it like a porn star they would. Nothing.  Not even a letter from Jesse Jackson requesting a paid position on a Board of Directors or face his on-call protesters every day until the next election.  I could see every red-blooded Republican rubbing their hands… “Iron my robe, we back”!  Forgive me for generalizing the entire Republican Party, but you opened the door for me.

What can the African-American community do to fight this?  Join them, no not in name calling; we did that after the first episode of The Jefferson’s aired on CBS in the 1970’s.  Actually join the Republican Party, yes I am saying become card-carrying members of the Republican Party.  If you live in a state where you have to declare a party affiliation, switch to the Republicans.  Stop cussing at your computer screen… I’m serious and I have a point.

When Republicans know that we can swing the vote in a candidates favor, they will make it a point to respect our community.  Of course we are not voting for the most electable Republican, depending on how pissed off they make us, we are turning the tide in favor of the most flawed and fucked up Republican you got.  This year… HELLO RON PAUL!!!  Republicans don’t piss us off, maybe we don’t show up to vote (honestly we are pretty good at that), piss us off and Michelle Bachman is still polling high enough to keep running.

We can vote for whomever we want to in the General Election and honestly, the Republicans are correct we blindly vote for whatever late 40/early 50-year-old the donkeys roll out.  It does not matter who, we forgive their shortcomings.  We forgave Obama for going to an elitist church in Chicago and putting together an exploratory committee to see if he had a chance to be elected President, before he was sworn-in to serve the people of the State of Illinois that elected him and placed him on the national stage in the US Senate.  We forgave Bill Clinton for attacking the hip-hop generation for expressing their concerns with the treatment they received from law enforcement and general lack of concern from the government.  Not to mention the early rumors of him cheating on Hillary.  We even forgave him from going out for jogs with the media tagging along wearing shorts hugging his nuts so tight that Larry Bird and the rest of the ’83 Boston Celtics thought were obscene.

History forgave Abraham Lincoln for saying “If I could save the Union without freeing any slave I would do it, and if I could save it by freeing all the slaves I would do it; and if I could save it by freeing some and leaving others alone I would also do that. What I do about slavery, and the colored race, I do because I believe it helps to save the Union”.  Lincoln later expressed an opposition to slavery, but admitted he did, in fact, free slaves to save the Union.  One of the reasons why Black people can vote today, why eventually we could own land, be accepted to universities and colleges across the South, and I could one day write this is because it was a political move in the best interest of one side of a debate on race that allowed it to happen.  In the best interest of today’s debate about race, a strategic political move would be raiding the Republican Party Primaries and forcing their candidates to respect us by respecting our ability to vote, maybe not for them but against them.  There is power in having the ability to fire people, ask Mitt.

I feel like a Black Republican, money I got comin’ in
Can’t turn my back on the hood, I got love for them
Can’t clean my act up for good, too much thug in ’em
Probably end up back of the hood, I’m like “Fuck it then”

Nas featuring Jay-Z- “BLACK REPUBLICAN”

“I Ain’t Having It In 2012″… Yeah Right

So for the last few weeks I have had to listen to mindless chatter about what people are changing about themselves in the year 2012 and get asked if I made any resolutions (yes I did, next year I promise not to slap the shit of people who ask me if I am making resolutions.. SLAP).  My favorite one was while I was on the L heading downtown, some woman was on her phone talking loud to someone, who I can only assume had this woman on speaker phone so everyone in the house could get a good laugh out it.  The lady on the train had to take time out of everyone’s day to let us know that she “ain’t having it 2012”.  I am looking at her thinking “yeah you are, you’re having all of it”.  I believe she is going to put up with the same mess in 2012 that she did in 2011 and probably 20-plus years prior based off of the lack of restraint while talking on the phone while rolling on the Green Line and the 22 oz Schlitz she was halfway finished with.  So if you have told people you ‘are not having it in 2012’ let me be the first to tell… Yes you are.  You are gonna have all of it this year, like you did last year and the years before, and you are gonna take it like a porn star.

I have a problem with resolutions because people plan them out, think about it for weeks and months like it is their prom and picking the wrong dress will get them talked about once every ten years for the rest of their life.  What is wrong with thinking about things you want to change about yourself, you are probably asking especially if it is designed to make you a better person.  Absolutely nothing, except when I think about something I need to change about myself on October 29th, I begin changing it on October 29th and on November 19th it is a part of my life.  Why on the 19th? Most of you know this, but some of you have no clue to why that date (probably you jag offs that made resolutions) psychologists and researchers have determined that it takes 21 consecutive days of conscious effort to do something different to make it a habit.  Going by the 21 day rule, if you are going to change something about yourself in 2012 you should be done by the 22nd of January.  What are you going to do the other 343 days out the year?  I would knock out 16 more fucked up things about myself if I was as fucked up as you!

So let me help you upgrade yourself, I will even make it easy for you.  Instead of dealing with the thing you want to change I will deal specifically with 17 things that you really do not want to do or be, okay?  Let me explain, the biggest thing going into a new year is losing weight.  Well most people do not make this goal (probably because they thought about doing this in October, put it off 2 months and ate themselves into a bigger pair of jeans during the holidays) so to help you help you make your resolution come true, instead of you promising to lose weight in 2012 I say your resolution should be to not be a fat ass in 2012.  So my list is not a ‘how to’ list but a ‘how NOT to’ list… heck let’s start with the weight thing.

Onmysquare’s 2012 “How Not To” list:

1)      How not to be a fat ass:  First, close your mouth when you breathe, nobody should be at work with you and take a look over at your desk 4 times a day because you sound like you fell asleep.  People should not sit in front of you during a lecture and have the creepy sensation like you are getting closer to them as if you’re Jason Voorhees.  You can be a fat person without being a fat ass, the Notorious BIG was fat, but not a fat ass.  Luther Vandross, Big Pun, Oprah Winfrey, Melissa McCarthy… all fat none a fat ass.  Newt Gingrich, fat ass, you would think a man with a $500,000 line of credit at Tiffany’s would be able to see if Macy’s had Purple Label shirts that fit him.  Being a fat ass has very little to do with weight but everything to do with how you present yourself when you carry a little extra weight.  To pull this resolution off, when you get dressed think America Ferrera or Queen Latifah not Kirstie Alley after her Jenny Craig contract is up.  Guys think Alec Baldwin or Forest Whitaker not Tracy Morgan or the fat guy from Lost (how are you on an island for seven seasons and never lose a pound?).  Another thing every time people talk about going out to grab something to eat, stop suggesting buffets!

2)      How not to stink:  So you have decided you want your do something about your appearance, you want to dress better, take a little more time when buy shoes, in other words you want to look like you don’t stink.  Because people who look like they stink, do.  Here’s what you do, I love to dress and can do it on the cheap.  Easiest thing to do is layer your clothes; layering for men keeps us from looking like mommy let us pick our clothes today, yay!  You do not have to invest in slacks, if you do no pleated pants.  Keep it flat front, trust me.  Rock button-up shirts, solid colors or tight stripes don’t go outside your lane on this one.  Put a sweater over it, tuck the shirt in a shirt not tucked in and hanging from under the sweater will cause you to look like a fat ass.  Make sure your jeans fit, not saggy, not too tight (read my first post for more information on this).  Now how not to really stink, shower!  Put soap and water all over you and rinse, apply to any area that folds or creases please!  88% of all stink comes from areas you think nobody should be able to smell, rule of thumb should be if people CAN’T see it/people CAN smell it.  Use deodorant.  You can stop right there, you would be surprised how much the smell of soap turns women on.  If you do want to roll with cologne, apply one spray to your stomach after the shower as you dry down.  After you put on a shirt, you can take another spray down the back, if it is a strong cologne like any “Aquas” I stop there!  The most you can take it from there is a small splash to neck.  NO MORE THAN 3 SPRAYS!!!!  NO MORE THAN 2 IF YOU SIT CLOSE TO PEOPLE AT WORK!!!!  People may not run to you and tell you how nice you smell, but trust me they refer to you as ‘the good smelling guy’.  A little smell good makes women want to get closer so they can get a better whiff, too much is stinky.

3)      How not to overload your schedule:  So you decided you are going to stop drinking or cut back.  Well you are not hanging out at the bar anymore or meeting the girls out for drinks, now you have to find something else to do.  People make the mistake of finding too many things to do when they stop drinking.  “Oh I was at Bar Louie 5 nights a week, I could learn how to play the piano and join a book club with that time”.  Dumbass!!! If you could have learned how to play the piano you would have stuck with it when you learned the scales in the 4th grade.  Read??  You fuckin’ drunk, you don’t read!!!  Now you have picked up way more than you have time for, before you know it you’ll be bringing a box of wine to the book club.  Look, until the judge orders it… keep drinking.

4)      How not to go to jail:  You’ve decided you are going to be a calmer person, let the small stuff go.  When she says something about you, let her.  When he breaks a promise, so what.  You are not that irrational person that goes off when you feel you have been wronged.  People will not say they are afraid to tell you anything for fear of being yelled at… I know, I know, one time someone tells you that you left the lights on in your car and slapped the ship out of them.  You are not that person anymore.  What you are is a future resident of one of your state’s fine correctional facilities.  Look, you are not a stable individual you yell at people and hit people you love because you do not have the capabilities of keeping that shit inside and dealing with it in healthy ways.  What’s gonna happen is you are going ‘let things go’ for months, then one real hot day in August when your air goes out and no HVAC person can get to your place and fix it, you are going to go see Tyler Perry’s new movie, because you like him, you are an irrational person so you relate to Madea, and the theater has air conditioning.  Well you decided to go to a Tyler Perry movie on the weekend it opens, you didn’t know it was this many Black people in your state.  One person blows their horn at you as you walk through the parking lot, because Black people never read the part of the driver’s manual that says ‘pedestrians have the right of way’, two people asked you for change and they both had on new Nikes, one person called you outside your name because you didn’t want to buy a bootleg of the NEW Tyler Perry movie you are on your way to see.  You have done well, until you get to the ticket booth and the high school kid trying to make enough money keep up with his Xanax addiction tells you politely, “sorry Tyler Perry’s Madea Goes to Hell is sold out”.  Who knew your arm could fit through the small slit where the money/ticket exchange takes place, who knew your arm was long enough to allow you to grab his neck and choke that lil’ fucker until pills pop out his ass!  Who knew his father was an Assistant District Attorney and his colleagues figure you need to be the poster child for cruel and unusual punishment.  Who knew… I did, keep being you leave this resolution alone.

5)      How not to raise lame kids:  First, don’t name them Blue.  Second, let your kids be who they are and when they make a mistake, beat their ass.  So this year you are going to be a better parent, get your kid involved in more activities, be their friend… blah, blah, blah.  So you have decided to pass your insecurities off on your kids, awesome.  You sucked at sports and blamed your dad for not being around to teach you how to catch a football.  Maybe your hand/eye coördination sucked so badly that if your father did stick around to build you into a first round draft pick, his shame in your lack of athletic ability would have drove him away from you anyway.  Okay your pops fell in love with some strange ass outside the home and got a 2-bedroom in the next county for him her, and her 2 kids.  Maybe your mom should have learned that trick with her tongue and dad would have never left.  DO NOT take your kids to do anything they have not expressed interest in, yes you can visit some museums, musicals, plays, soccer matches, and if your kid asks about it you can suggest the best way to learn is to get involved, but DO NOT do anything with your kids based on what your next door neighbors are doing with their kids.  Their kids are going to be screwed up in the head because they were never allowed to express themselves as people and are Menendez Brothers plotting on their parents.  Let it go, forgive your father, but give your mother hell for not letting her inner-whore go twice a week.

6)      How not to infect the gene pool:  You decided you want to start a family, raise some kids… yawn.  Look at yourself in the mirror.  Do you have tattoos on the side of your neck?  Do you have on a shirt from any of the Lord of the Rings or Harry Potter movies?  Are you in the Tea Party?  Do you own more than one Maroon 5 CD?  Do you make New Year’s resolutions?  Does everything in your house come to a stop when “Meet the Browns” come on?  Are you in high school?  Are you still high from last night?  Are you still high from this morning?  Are you about to go get high?  At this moment do have one or more babies crying in the other room due to lack of attention?  Do you find Dane Cook HILARIOUS?  Do you like thugs?  Do you believe you can turn a hoe into a housewife? Have you seen 2 or more “Madea Goes To… “movies/plays?   Is your name Britney Spears?  If the answer to any of these questions is yes… you should not have children, you should walk into the woods and get lost or let a bear eat you.  It is in the best interest of the gene pool.

7)      How not to like bad music:  You feel like life is passing you by, so you are ready to get back out.  There are clubs open now that you have never been to, there are hip people walking around everywhere and you want to know them.  Before you know it you’ll be walking around in MMA style t-shirts, joining a gym but walking on a treadmill for 4 minutes and walking around striking up conversations before you hit arms… again.  You’ll head out to some club with some of the trainers from the gym and by the end of the week you have techno music pumping from your car and find yourself looking forward to the next Nickelback CD.  Idiot.  Just keep getting old, it is infinitely cooler to be the 55-year-old guy, comfortable with his age, knows a little about a lot, and likes to see people 30 years younger than him be 30 years younger than him.  Just let yourself grow up, you get cool again.

8)      How not to smoke crack:  First and this should go without saying, stop hanging out with Bobby Brown… Second, if you find yourself in a puff-puff-pass session with DMX do not smoke anything he rolled.  So you decided to quit smoking and you are making a big deal about it, such a big deal about quitting smoking that the addiction must be really strong, you keep talking about it to the point I say to myself “cigarettes can’t be that bad, are you giving up smoking crack”?  So I am going to treat you like you are trying to get over a crack addiction.  Considering my knowledge on crack addiction is limited to After School Specials, “Say No To Drugs” campaigns in the 80’s, and post 2004 Whitney Houston… I can only assume you’re fuuuhhhhked.  Good news is, if you can actually go 21 days without taking a hit of crack, you may have actually been able to quit smoking.  Good luck with your addiction!

9)      How not to annoy your family:  You want to spend more time with your brothers, sisters, and mom.  Be a good brother/sister/son/daughter.  I got good/bad news for you, your family has become use to not seeing you.  Seeing your family more would actually piss them off, because they are going to assume you need to borrow money and building up the courage to ask.  I suggest you just think about them more often, put up some pictures of them around your house so when they come over they realize you love them.  Real talk, ain’t nobody feeling you like that to see you more than they see you now.

10)   How not to live on a budget:  You are gonna get your finances in order this year, live within your means, and buy only what you can afford to while paying your bills and saving.  Why?  Fuck it, file bankruptcy.  Next.

11)   How not to be dumb as fuck:  I see you, ready to read more, take some classes get a degree.  Nice, my friend, self-improvement is honorable.  What is that book?  Confessions of a Video Vixen, oh wow a book by Zane… you’ll learn something reading that.  What classes are you taking?  Getting an MBA, awesome!  What night are your classes?  No classes?  Oh yeah you’re right you do not have to necessarily take a physical class at the University of Phoenix.  So you are going through an MBA program but not going to sit in classes with people who you can make life long connections with that can benefit your career.  What are you dumb as fuck?

12)   How not to get hit upside the head with a purse by an old lady or get jumped by a group of Black guys:  You have made a resolution to help more people, change starts with you, you can make a difference if not in the world but in your city.  You are going to volunteer at a senior citizens home, sure the first few weeks are great, you bond with a sweet lady drink coffee and talk about the news with her.  You miss one week, because you had tickets to see Nickleback (dumb ass), you return to the senior citizens facility to spend time with your buddy.  She is not in her room, you sit and wait.  A few minutes later she walks in with her cup of coffee getting ready to watch the evening news, sees you sitting there.  Throws her coffee at you, burns your arm! She throws anything she can get her hands on at you, including her purse which cuts your eye.  The nurse comes in calms her down, another nurse comes in and gets a bandage over your cut and tells you that your old lady friend is senile and does not remember things well past 9 days.  So you figure you’ll just go home and relax.  You also decided you would use public transportation more often, since you were cut and needed a little treatment you stayed a little longer than usual.  Embarrassed by your cut you tilt your hat a little over your left eye to kind of hide it.  Bad ideas, as you walk to the bus stop, the thugs in the neighborhood are out on the block and they all have their hats tilted to the right.  Not knowing any better you foolishly walk through the brothers, saying “what’s up”.  “What’s up?  Did this muh’fuhka just ask us what’s up?”  Now you are getting beat on like Vanilla Ice giving up his publishing rights to Suge Knight, all because you decided to make a difference and like bad music.  See this shit never ends people!

13)   How not to lose shit:  In other words you decided you are going to be more organized; it takes you 30 minutes to find things that you should find in 2 minutes or less.  Let me tell you something my mother told me that can help you out… “Why don’t you throw some of this shit away?”  You have too much shit, you don’t have to become more organized you need to toss some shit.  Spend a day; throwing shit you don’t use anymore into a trash bag, throw that shit out the house, you won’t have a problem finding the shit you need.  You are not unorganized, you are filthy.  You made the wrong resolution with your trifling ass!

14)   How not to be rejected:  This is the year you are going to find the love or your life and get the job you always wanted.  What the fuck ever!  You did not try to find a job in 2011?  You didn’t blow a relationship with someone you liked a lot last year?  You turned down a six-figure job or something last year?  Your ex didn’t break up with you because you got caught giving head to somebody you met in a bar one night?  Face it, you are a loser.  I am not saying you will not ever get a great job or find someone who brings you joy but your history clearly states otherwise.  If you do get any of these things it probably won’t be because of anything you set out to do.  Guys you want to find love with someone awesome that you never thought you could have, focus on getting a better job… Rich guys marry hot chicks.  Ladies you want to find love from an awesome guy, I have no advice for you.  You see how many women are kissing other women in bars these days, the pickings are slim.  Buy some flannel shirts and the next time the lady at the gym that works out in blue jeans, boots, and has a haircut like your brother says hi to you don’t smile and keep it moving… chat it up a little.

15)   How not to set yourself up for failure:  You didn’t like my suggestion about filing for bankruptcy, you set a budget and been saving money.  In the words of former NBA Power Forward Derrick Coleman “woopdie, damn, doo!”  Now you are feeling yourself, going on a nice vacation, a cruise to an island.  Taking care of yourself for once in your life and feels good.  Dumb ass, you’re doing the same dumb shit that got you broke in the first place.  You saved $1000 in 9 months and used $400 of it to pay the balance on the trip.  Spent $200 on clothes and instead of limiting your drinking to all-inclusive package on the ship, you decide since you’re are on the island you’ll buy some drinks for the cute locals.  Later you find out that someone there stole your debit card information and as far as the credit agencies are concerned that is your responsibility now.  How is bankruptcy looking now you fuckin’ failure!

16)   How not to look like a pussy:  Way to go!  You are going to save the environment, going green!  Recycling, cutting back on fuel, might bike to work on nice days.  Trading in your Jeep for a Prius… you come up to a stop light for the first time.  Look over in the car next to you, the hottest chick you have ever seen, she sees your eyes and smiles.  Then she checks out your brand new Prius, frowns runs the light to get away from you.  Women don’t date pussies!  Women like their men sensitive to a point; you’re driving around in a Prius, crying for dolphins and the ozone layer.  Have you ever see a football player get out of his car on Sunday before the big game in a Prius?  The kickers and punters drive F-150’s and BMW’s, you drive a Prius… you look like a pussy.  Tim Tebow drives a Range Rover and he prays for the guys trying to rip his head off… BEFORE THE GAME!!!  Instead of spending time working on this resolution why don’t you put your time to better use, like waiting for your testicles to fall.

17)   How not to make resolutions:  Be you, always.  If there is something you do not like about yourself find out the cause of it and then embrace it as a part of who you are.  If you feel you need to lose weight, ask yourself if you can love yourself as you are, if your answer is yes the pounds will fall off.  Your love for who you are will fix anything wrong with you.  Happy New Year.

The Doula Do Her… She Don’t Do You

Chicago, IL 3:23 AM December 13, 2011 at 22 and a half inches, 9lbs and 6 amazing ounces my first child, my son Noah made his entrance to the world.

What I learned?  The placenta and me have a lot in common, could be useful in the future, nobody talks about it, and is the part of the birth that just has to be dealt with.  After birth and after thought is what we are and that is cool.

I went into the day being supportive, labor had to be induced, I knew the day would be long and luckily it lasted only 10 hours (I am sure there is someone I am very close to that would not talk to me for the rest of the week and if she had the energy choke the hell out of me for saying ‘only’).  The most important parts of this are healthy baby and healthy mommy this was not about me.  I did my part in causing this day and will learn to play my role under the direction of the two stars of this event.

A few of my friends sent me texts asking how I was holding up and my response was “this is not about me”.  I have taken mental notes from family members and friends and went into this knowing that I could not be present and have the same impact on the event.  There is nothing in the world that could have kept me from seeing my son born… unless it involved $10,000,000 and knowledge of every tax loop-hole the Republicans are protecting, my son could use a rich father too he should be in the 1%.

I ready for the treatment I will receive, to prepare for my role in this production I have studied every non-essential member of groups, teams, and pairs for the last 50 years.  I have read up on the feelings of Tito Jackson, the other two members of the Police, every member of Young Money not named Lil’ Wayne, Drake, or Minaj.  I reached out to and spent time with Dan Quayle, the other guys from Maroon 5, Kobe Bryant’s back-up, reporters on CNN not named Anderson Cooper, and Jon Cryer from ‘Two and a Half Men”.  It is surprising how easy it was to get in contact with these people, most of them are still listed in the phone book and in the case of Jesse Carmichael from Maroon 5, I was leaving a message for Jesse while doing that my phone beeped with a call waiting.  I took that call said ‘hello’.  “Hey this Jesse, sorry it took so long for me to call you back Rob.  What’s going on?  Wanna hang?  I can fly you out to LA!  Better yet where are you at?  I’ll just drive there; I could use something to do”.  Kind of sad, I just hung up on him when he started to Google me.

Even more surprising was that I received phone calls from Gloria Cain, both of Newt Gingrich’s ex-wives, and Nick Cannon.  So as you can see I am ready to be ignored by others and not made reference to by anyone including my spouse.  This should be minimally humbling for me; my son may actually have some respect for me after this.

Wrong, the nurse comes out to roll my wife to the room.  That is fine, one problem, I was standing in front of the wheelchair.  I am 6’4” I am not invisible, but I do not exist today.  Everyone comes in and speaks directly to the mommy-to-be, which is the right thing to do.  I take issue when they try to include me int the process.  “Ok daddy, you just keep sitting down in that chair like you are, that is a nice hat you have on.  What is that the Cubs?”

“No, it’s my hair.  I haven’t had time to get a haircut.  By the way, I’m standing right next to you.  I’m like right behind you… hello?”

“So daddy’s a Cubs fan, that’s nice.”

We bought in a doula, not that we were going for natural child-birth.  All medication was an option going into the day.  Why not use everything available a combination of natural and modern science is a great combination.  The doula arrived to the labor room, she was carrying an exercise ball and some snacks.  Awesome, some unique relaxation techniques for mom and something for us to snack on through the night… how nice is this?  Wrong, before I could tell her hello, she threw the exercise ball in my hands took the seat I was sitting in, ripped open the snacks and began eating.  Apparently the exercise ball was to keep me occupied.  While they are doing real work I could do some stability sit-ups and work on my core.

I had such a fear that I would be called every name possible, say something that would irritate and cause great anger that I was so careful with my words, that it is possible that if someone documented every word I said the entire 10 hours they would form a haiku.  By the time the doula showed up, the baby was well on his way.  An epidural was administered and 8 hours of slow progress went into hyper-drive.  My wife went from 4cm to 9cm in less than an hour, in simple terms… IT IS ON!

The doula actually took the heat I was expecting to get, it probably did not help that she was arrive a couple of hours later than when she was really needed.  Once the needle went into the spine, the doula was to be regulated to camera operations and shut the fuck up duty.  The doula would make suggestions and in return get pretty much a verbal slap.

“Just try to breath”

“Obviously I am breathing, I’m not dead”


“I’ll just rub your leg”

“Actually could you stop that, the epidural has kicked in my legs are numb, and your hands feel like sandpaper”

Wow… awesome

I have done a great job keeping my mouth shut, such a good job that the person she handpicked to be the voice of reason in the room is getting the verbal jabs.  Cool, I will keep this going until my son gets here so I can finally get some attention and he can stare at me.

Do not think that I was smug about the direction of those daggers.  When the doula took it and had a tough moment, I looked at her with a supporting look, even offered to get her some water.   It was the right thing to do, I needed her there taking that attention away from me.  This is the best decision this family has ever made, since my great-uncle pistol whipped a restaurant owner for giving him cold food and the entire family left Mississippi before they got strung-up!

My wife is struggling supporting her head by now, I place a pillow behind her neck.  She says “thanks”, I am #winning!!! A few minutes later, my wife is still struggling with her neck and the pillow is a source of irritation.  “You need some help baby?”  What the hell did I say that for…

“I don’t need any help from you.  Here take this damn pillow!”

The pillow was thrown at me, hitting me directly in my face.  Where in the hell did she get aim from?  Stunned by the display of Brett Favre like accuracy and the sudden show of anger and frustration directed towards me, I looked at the doula for the same support I had been given her.  I just needed a kind look, something to tell me that I should not take any of that personally.  Only to look at the doula and to find her lips twisted up to the side with a “that’s what the fuck you get” look on her face.

Not long after that, the baby arrived.  I will spare all the details, I am under the impression all of you took 6th grade Health classes and have the act of child-birth burned into your memories.  I will share that Noah’s heartbeat got seriously low and we became scared.  After he came out, it was only a couple of seconds but seemed like an eternity to me, he was there on the bed completely still.  I immediately prayed for his well-being and asked God to let him be okay.  He moved his little arm and cried a little, the best cry I have ever heard in my life.  It helped that he only cried for less than 5 seconds so it never reached “okay kid that’s enough” levels.

He was cleaned, weighed, checked, tested, foot prints taken, all I could do is stand there and look at him.  The nurse said he was 22.5 inches long, tied the record for longest baby born at that hospital… already in the history books, good job kid!  Finally I said something, after being speechless and on the verge of tears for minutes.  I said, “hey Noah, I waited so long to see you”.  He opened his eyes like he recognized my voice.  I said “he looks like he knows my voice”.  The doula said, “He does”.  Great moment, this is what I was waiting for some attention from my son.

His blood sugar was a little low, so they kept him to check levels.  He was not near us too much after the first bonding period with mommy.  All wanted was that moment where he would be that person that would confirm my part in this process.  After seeing him, the usual things take place that should take place for any father.  Protecting him, giving him every opportunity, immediate comfort with letting go anything that gets in the way of your time with him, and that love at first sight is indeed possible.  I also made a renewed commitment to my dreams and goals, because he deserves to see me loving what I do for a living.  He deserves to know that it is possible to make dreams realities.  I believe the best way for me to provide for him is through my dreams.  Not because of money, but because he deserves to have a father that is happy and at peace with his own life.

I think about watching Bears games with him on my lap.  How I cannot wait to see his mother feeding him and how much healthier he will be from that.  That I wish my mother were alive to see his face and that I wish she were alive so I could still see hers.  I am cherishing the possibilities of time with my son and accepting every responsibility that comes with it.  Finally, he comes to the room.  After more much-needed bonding time with mommy, it is time for him and I to have that moment I have waited for what is at this point 24 hours of being ignored.

And how does Noah justify my much-needed time with him:

Even my son has had enough of me today

Time/date stamp is wrong

Yes that is my son… a very humbling moment.  He is allowed…