26
Aug
11

He’s Back! He’s Blogging! He’s Breaking A Few Rules!

Soooo…. I’ve been away for quite a while, and if you don’t, already, know where I went… You may not want to.  Not really.

 

Where was I? Prison?  Nope, sorry.  Amish country?  I really hate to disappoint you, but… No.  A Shaolin Temple, in Tibet?  Ya, not so much…

I hate to admit it, but I messed around, and went BACK to work in a strip joint… AGAIN!

It’s cool, you don’t have to say it. I know what you’re all thinking… “Is this guy a glutton for punishment, or is he just STUPID?!?!?!?”  Well, the honest answer is, yes.  I may have been a glutton for punishment, and there is DEFINITELY some strong evidence supporting stupidity.  But I’m glad I went.  After six months in the wild West Texas Desert(Odessa: it ain’t just about the oil, anymore, kiddies), I came home of my own free will; and things have been immeasurably better, for me.  I got back in the middle of May, and after a brief stop in one of the clubs in Dallas(No, I won’t tell you which one, and, NO! I can not pull any strings for you, at the door. 😉  ), I found my way back to sanity.  So, I’ve renewed my commitment not to darken the door way of another strip club, and have some pretty firm reminders to keep me away.  I always thought I was bullet proof, and, while that has yet to be disproved, I did find out that I’m not “Mustang proof.”  That’s right, ladies and gentlemen… I was hit by a car, in the parking lot.  Yes, I knew the guy.  No, it wasn’t an accident.  No, I didn’t file charges.  I was still standing after the collision, so I got a little mouthy before counting my blessings. As an aside, I’d like to warn you that it’s just bad policy to scream, “Next time bring a bigger car, bitch!”  at someone who’s just tried to kill you with his brand new, 2011 Ford Mustang GT… Like I said, before… strong evidence of stupidity.    So, after hind sight kicked in, I did what any responsible guy with a big mouth, and even bigger ego, would do…  I got the shit out of town, before he bought a Cadillac.

 

Anyway, I’m writing again… with fewer rules, this time.  I’m writing my blog, From There To Here, over on the page for the ReThink Point page, and will be dropping little gems, here, from time to time; but I’d love it if you would all come check us out.  The biggest benefit to my last foray into the adult entertainment business was that I finally got my swag back, found out what story I have to tell, and found the courage to tell it; so, it’ll definitely worth your time to swing by.

 

See y’all, soon.

 

30
Mar
10

Listen to The Road To Ridiculous


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30
Mar
10

Gettin My Swagger on… 2

     I remember the first time I realized I had something special.  I was a floorman at one of the clubs I worked, in Dallas, and somebody told me, “You’re kind of hustler.”  I’d never thought of myself, that way.  I was just talking to people, and selling the products, I had to sell.  It never occurred to me that I was doing anything remarkable. Of course, when you tell people that you worked in a BYOB strip club, selling sparkling cider for $400 a bottle, they usually respond with varying degrees of disgust; but after the disgust subsides, even the most mortified have to admit that it’s an impressive feat to sell someone a $400 bottle of juice, without lying to him.  That’s where my swagger was born.  

     Swagger isn’t just about sales.  In fact, swagger isn’t mostly about sales.  Swagger is the quality that allows me to interact with ease.  I realized my swagger, while I worked in that environment.  I may never have realized it under different circumstances, but it didn’t come from there.  It came from me.  Swagger is why I didn’t fight.  It’s why I didn’t strut around, preening for attention.  I had nothing to prove.  My swagger allowed me the freedom to tell it like it is.  I never had to put on airs, or make any apologies for who I am.  I was just “doing me.”  So, you can imagine my dismay, having left my swagger behind.  It left me uncertain of who I was. 

     I have tried to leave the bar business, several times, but I kept going back because I didn’t know what else to do.  Who am I, if I’m not BFK?  The reason I defined myself by what I did was because I thought that was where my swagger came from.  My brother actually said to me, “What happened to you?  You were this big, impressive personality, and now you’re just vanilla.”  He, of course, said this to me, under the influence of Miller Light; but his words rang true.  I had lost my swagger.  I must have complained, a thousand times, that, while everyone wanted me to quit the industry, nobody had told me what I was supposed to do, next.  It was because I was supposed to “do me,” and get on with my life.  How hard is that?  Pretty damned hard, if you don’t feel like yourself.  So, I packed it in, and went back to the clubs, where I was, once again, the man with the silver tongue and the million dollar handshake.  It’s only now that I see the truth that I can still be me, without the clubs.  I simply have to apply my swagger to a world without strobe lights and fruit scented body spray.  Which brings me to the “how” of it all…

     On Sunday’s installment of the Inspired Revolution, we talked about “acting as if.”  Mama had a great analogy about going to the bank to pick up a check for $15,000, which I was very disappointed to hear was only a fiction.  However, the point she was making was that, sometimes, you’ve got to “fake it, til you make it.”  So, I should behave, as though my swagger was never lost.  Carry myself the way I would, if I was in full swagger.  Talk the same way… Stand the same way… Interact like BFK.  

     Swagger has many names.  Some people call it moxy.  Others refer to it as strut.  If you’re feeling particularly hood rat-y, you might call it stuntin.  The definition, however, is the same.  Swagger is confidence.  It’s the kind of confidence that gives someone the cool headedness to respond evenly to a volatile situation.  It also gives the same person a ruthlessness to deliberately take action in a situation where keeping the peace is, no longer, an option.  Swagger has discernment.  You never wonder how something will turn out, because you’ve already played through all the potential outcomes, and chosen your course of action.  This does not only apply in a night club setting. I would venture to say that I have need of that kind of discernment, on a regular basis.  It allows me to be decisive.  My swagger comes with strategy.  If we are called to be innocent as doves, and shrewd as serpents, then my swagger is my inner serpent.  Of course, during the process of swagger, you have to be careful not to let your serpent devour your dove.  Shrewdness without some innocence turns into darkness.

30
Mar
10

Gettin my swagger on…

     Let me tell you about my swagger.  I spent the better part of the last eight years, working in bars and strip joints, treating my body like a truck I didn’t like very much.  I worked on not enough sleep, too much caffeine, too much nicotine, and reprehensible nutrition, because there was something that I believed the industry had to offer.  What I found out, after leaving the business, was that I had gotten the best of it, a long time ago.  I learned to swagger.  Swagger can also be referred to as strut.  It’s the attitude that draws people to you.  It’s a confidence that should come from somewhere inside you.  After living in my parents house for the last three months, I finally realized what I’ve been missing.  I now know why I’ve been feeling so off-balance.  I walked away from the strip joint; and, in my haste, forgot to pack my swagger.  I have been the guy with the silver tongue and the million dollar handshake for a long time.  Just because I stopped hustling men out of their life savings, doesn’t mean I had to give up my hustle.  I’ve decided to put my swagger on, and be that guy.  You can’t hold that guy down.  He’s larger than life, and doesn’t get hung up on his own short comings.  He’s too strong to be beaten, even by himself.  He has an intensity that burns so hot, he seems to radiate heat.  He lives his life strategically.  He’s that guy that you’ll wait in line to talk to, because he knows the answer; and because he really talks to you.  He can divine your need in a way that makes you wonder if you told him out loud, and he always delivers.  He has a cool that he doesn’t put on.  It’s a part of him… Who he is.  This will be the first in a series, dedicated to the retrieval of my swagger.

24
Mar
10

The American Nightmare

     So, the accepted standard is that we graduate from high school.  After that, we choose one of two directions.  Either, we go to college, or we go to work.  Some people try the former, and fail miserably.  Others have to choose the latter, because they don’t have the option of continued education(can’t afford it, grades weren’t good enough, …whatever…).  A very select few have meritted some level of financial aid, because they were, smart enough, studious enough, or had enough talent on the playing field, to justify a grant from the school or some other benefactor.  There is, of course, the option of applying for student loans, but I would advise against this course of acti0n, unless you are truly comitted to seeing your education through to metriculation.  Remember that a loan, federal or otherwise, is going to be called due, eventually.  If you find yourself paying off loans for a half-assed attempt at getting your Bachelor’s in Anatomy of a Frisbee or Philosophy of Modern Moronic Marvels, you might find yourself being kicked on, or around the posterior, by your own heels… That’s right… I said it… But I did it in a classy-ish way.  I, myself, am having a bit of an internal struggle with this issue, right now. 

     You see, I had a chance at college, straight out of high school.  I believe I’ve mentioned that, while it was a lot of fun, this was not the most productive semester.  No, I didn’t fail miserably, exactly… But that really depends on whose yard stick we’re measuring on.  If a student is capable of a 4.0 GPA, and only achieves a 2.8 GPA, I’d say his failure was pretty abismal.  Anyway, after leaving school, I went to work in a few different bars, night clubs, and eventually strip joints.  That wouldn’t pose a problem, except for the fact that I worked my way up in a very specialized side of the Hospitality Industry.  I can work in any bar, I apply at; but what if I want to stay out of the bar business?  If you’ve been paying attention to my blog and shows on The Real Life Radio Network, you already know that I have found the bar business to be a stronghold in my life.  When the going gets tough, the tough get going… Unless we’re talking about Keith, who will get his tough ass to the nearest strip joint, and apply for work.  Go figure… I’m the only guy, in the world, who, knowingly and willingly, puts himself in harms way, as a means of making himself feel safer.  What’s that definition of insanity, again?  Obviously, since I’ve mentioned it, I have no intention of going down that path, one more time.  Okay, Mama… You can exhale, now.  However, the idea that I should go to work at this bar or that club occurs to me, everytime I reach in my pocket.  My leg doesn’t feel anything like money, and I get the dirtiest looks, when I try to buy Diet Coke or Marlboro Lights with loose change… It’s even worse, when I offer pocket lint and a sheepish smile.  What was my point?  I’m sure, I had one when I started… Oh! Right!  So, I’ve decided that the appropriate next step for me is to go back to school, but how to pay for it is proving to be a difficult question to answer.  I might be wise to apply for student loans, at some point; but, again, if you’ve been paying attention to the goings on in my life, which I have shared here and on the Inspired Revolution, then you know that I have certain other obligations that have to be met, before I can apply for anything. 

     I thought about taking a few classes at the local community college, and getting the basics out of the way(I decided to pretend like my one semester, at Kilgore, never happened).  In fact, I will definitely be doing that, when I finally enroll… It could save me a few thousand dollars in tuition.  If I do really well there, I might become one of those special few, who merits a grant or a scholarship of some kind.  After all, mine was a misspent youth, and I should’ve been one of those, nearly ten years ago.  

     I’m not really sure where I changed direction, but the point is that we leave high school, and have to figure our lives out, from there.  We don’t exactly have a reset button, and nobody’s interested in the idea of a “do over.”  So how can we sort it out, when things fall apart?  It’s no wonder, that so many of us are confused or lost… We were thrown into the proverbial deep end, and told to learn to swim.  I love it when people from the generations before us, complain about how we lack direction… we’re unmotivated… we’re overindulged, lazy…we have a sense of entitlement.  I want to ask if they remember who has the compass… or the map, for that matter.  Don’t get me wrong.  When I am completely worthless, and accomplish nothing, for three days, I have to take responsibility  for it.  When I go out into the world, and act like an idiot, I know who to blame.  But when a whole generation is looking around us, trying to figure out what to do next… When we have to move home, with mom and dad, because the world is kicking our butts… When we can’t seem to get it together for longer than fifteen minutes out of the day( those 15 minutes are, by the way, collective and not consecutive)… When you notice that we are entertaining ourselves to the point of escape, and you can’t figure out why… Remember that the precedents were set by our parents and grandparents.  The whole sense of entitlement that everyone is so quick to point out, in our generation, started a good, long while before our time.  I will admit, again, to a digression from the point, but I’ve found the “generational gap” to be a hot button issue for me.  I’ve had a great, many conversations about it with my parents, and we don’t really struggle over the difference, anymore.  I just wish the rest of y’all would follow suit, and we could be done with that point of tension. 

     So, the truth is that the American Dream doesn’t really exist, anymore.  At least, not in the form it was pitched to us in.  After high school or college is finished, we are still left to figure out the next step.  Enter the work force, obviously… Except that we’re in recession, and jobs are hard to find.  If you’re lucky enough to have a family business to go into, or if you are, like myself, in possession of an entrepreneurial spirit, then you, at least, have that.  But let me tell you about how that entrepreneurial spirit can back fire, and leave you burned.  We are, all of us, stuck at this point, where we can’t go back, but there is no forward… We’re stuck between a rock and a sucky place… And that’s not just my generation!  We’re all in this boat, together.  We’re all living the American Nightmare.  I can’t wait to wake up.  Can you?

24
Mar
10

An Update For Everyone… Or For Anyone Who Was Wondering

     I haven’t posted, in a few days.  Mostly, because I usually use Mama’s laptop, and she has been having to use it as her primary computer, since the untimely demise of her Mac.  We hope to have her back on it in a couple of weeks, at the longest… We’ll have to see what the good people at Apple have to say about the state of her beloved instrument.  That is not, however, the only reason for my absence.  It’s the spring time, and I, for lack of a better term, am in heat.  Being in heat is an unfortunate thing, when your circumstances are like mine.  I live with my parents, don’t have a car, and couldn’t drive if I had one.  The State of Texas has got me over the barrel for some unpaid tickets, and I can’t renew my driver’s license, until I get them paid.  That, coupled with a DWI, earned in October of 2008, has left me at the mercy of the patience of those who love me… I can’t go out, and get a normal job, because I can’t guarantee I’ll be there, on time, every day.  And, if that wasn’t enough, businesses aren’t keen on hiring guys with expired licenses, tattoos, and very limited work history, outside of the strip joint.  Oh, yeah!  I’m the complete package… Anybody want to hire a leg breaker?  That was a joke.  Do not call the proper authorities.  I’m not contracting myself out to loan sharks.  So, in as much as I’ve changed my attitudes, and as much as God has been working in my heart and my life, I really just want to go out, chasing girls… Pretty girls… The kind of girls that wouldn’t typically give a guy like me the time of day…  That’s how I like to roll, baby!  During more fruitful times, I’d get a small group of friends together, and do a bit of bar hopping.  Bar tabs were never a problem, because I kept a lot of cash, on hand… And I could always go make more.    There’s a real, misleading sense of freedom in working for tips.  You’ll blow your whole wad, thinking that you can always get more… Then, the country goes into recession.  If you’re really good, you can continue to make pretty good money, because it’s all about your mouthpiece.  If you can say the right things, and provide a level of service that leaves your customer feeling warm and fuzzy; or if you can give him the illusion of being important, you can make a good living in the bar business, in spite of the economic woes that everyone else is having.  But the business is a wild, cruel animal.  Make one wrong move, and she’ll eat you up, pass you through her digestive tract, and deposit you somewhere that you will, surely, become decorations on the bottom of somebody’s over priced shoes.  That, however, is not the point of this mornings rant; though, I assure you  that I’ll be giving you a detailed accounting of the dos and don’ts of the Gentlemen’s Club business, at some point.  It’s really too much fun, not to share… A guaranteed laugh.  The point of this morning’s rant was about how I have not been giving my VERY best effort, everyday.  In fact, my average effort is somewhere between sixty and eighty percent.  I’ve been pouting and surly, and I’ve been feeling sorry for myself.  I’d love to blame someone else, but they don’t seem too interested in falling on that sword… So, I am starting anew, once again, this morning.  I’ve made myself a list.  It’s not a long list, but it’s got some important items on it.  The most important of these is my dog needing to be bathed.  If you’ve ever seen a mastiff being bathed, you’ll understand why this has to be scheduled.  Not only does his bath require a lot of effort, but the clean up from his bath is a huge task(He sheds more hair, in one day, than I have on my entire body!). 

     So, I hope to add another post, this afternoon; but, until then, I leave you all with this thought…  If a fat man wrestles with his mastiff on the driveway, in his cut off shorts and sleeveless shirt, while cold water sprays all over the pair; and nobody’s around to see it, is it still funny?

12
Mar
10

The Stars At Night Are Big And Bright…. You Know The Rest!

     Everything’s bigger in Texas.  The state of Texas is big, and we put a lot of stock in being big.  Our ranches are big. There are big cities, big athletes, big companies, big ideas, big personalities… our women even have big hair.  We celebrate our inherent bigness (that’s right, he just wrote the word “bigness”) in all of our endeavors.  We, also, have our own way of doing most things.  Barbecue, Tex-Mex food, country music, and football are all parts of our culture that we have done in a way, specific to Texas.  Texas even has it’s own beers.  We are the only state in the union, who could secede, and survive as our own country.  Did you ever notice that Texans have an accent, all our own?(Mine is particularly evident, after several Shiner Bocks or too many hours without sleep.)  But the Texan tradition, I love most of all, is that Texans are polite and respectful.  Even in our metropolitan areas(Austin, Dallas, Houston, and San Antonio to name a few), we are polite and respectful.  Texans are polite and respectful, even when we interact with people we dislike or have a distaste for.  Dadgummit!  We’re even polite and respectful, when we are distasteful, vulgar, or crude.  We still say things like “Yes sir,” “Thank you ma’am,” and “Howdy!” (“Howdy” is Texan for “How do you do?”), and we mean it. 

     I am a Texan.  I was born in Kansas, to a wonderful native, Texan woman, and was raised in true Texan fashion.  We got back here, as quickly as the Good Lord would allow.  I have been taught, my whole life, that attitude is everything.  We can disagree, vehemently, but we will still treat each other with the respect we are due, respectively( see what I did there?).  I don’t believe that we do any of this to uphold an image, which I was, also, trained to protect.  I believe we behave, the way we do, because it’s the right way to treat people.  I’ve been to other places, and experienced that, even on the rare occasions when politeness is displayed, a certain tension is present, during social interaction.  People seem to have to force the smallest kindnesses.  I appreciate the effort, but am more impressed by the ease, with which we do it, here.  I have lived and traveled all over this great state, and one theme remains constant.  Texans are polite and respectful. 

     Now, I told you all of that, so I could tell you this.  I am a lousy Texan, when it comes to politeness.  Oh, I treat most people with the same politeness and respect as the rest of my  bretheren, but I am impatient, hot headed, sarcastic, and biting.  I’m, also, a bit of an instigator; but that’s a story for another day.  When I am not in the mood to be polite, I just don’t bother.  I’m pretty blunt… Rough around the edges, really.  I serve the truth, straight, naked, without the sugared rim or the lime.  My mother, Laurie, who is the biggest influence in my life, has been calling me down for this, since shortly after I started talking.  When I was little, it was more about sharing more than was appropriate(a five year old, who gives you a complete family history upon introduction, can be off putting).  As I got older, it became more about telling people what I(or anyone else, for that matter) really thought about them, their choices, their lifestyles, or their opinions.  Now that I am an adult, the problem has been, somewhat, exacerbated, even further.  I don’t talk just to hear my head rattle, anymore.  In fact, I’m not a huge fan of the sound of my own voice.  I was disappointed, not to have been blessed with a  deeper voice(I was hoping to be a bass, not a tener/ baratone combination).  But I do, however, share my opinion with an alarming freedom.  I have mentioned, in all of my forums, including the social site for The Real Life Radio Network, that I am impulsive.  I lack the filter that tells me something doesn’t need to be said(my language filter works pretty well, though).  I enjoy getting a reaction from people, which is another one of my flaws(VERY un-Texanly of me).  I’ve never, fully, understood what purpose my verbal reckless abandon serves… Only that there is a purpose to be served. 

     Seth A. Bailey is my friend.  We have never met.  My mother had friended him on Facebook; and was reading some of his writing to me, which led me to give his page a good look.  It deserves to be said that Seth has a mastery of the English language that gives me pause.  The man can put a sentence together!  He is, also, one of the most foul mouthed authors, I’ve ever read.  He has a mouth like a pirate… A pirate with Tourrettes Syndrome… Tourettes Syndrome with the occurance of coprolalia.  I think we were fated to be friends.  I am certain, however, that we should never be turned loose on Boy’s Town, together. That could spell disaster!  When I said “fated,” I meant I believe that God has purposed a meeting between Seth and I so that I might impact his life, he might impact mine, or, a crazy idea… That we might impact each other’s lives.  Seth, being Agnostic, may not agree with my theory, but I am sure that two, highly intelligent men, sharing as many common personality traits(I think Seth might, secretly, be the lost Zieber boy.  Stolen, in the night by gypsy thieves, and sold to the Bailey family for a bottle of brandy and a box of cigars… good cigars) as I’ve realized we share, have been designed to do great things… Or to bring about the appocalypse, but I digress…  Seth, is the Author of And The Rain Came Down, a book I am most anxious to sink my teeth into.  Also, in all of his strategic use of the “F” word(welcome back to elementary school, boys and girls), Seth has shown a respect to my mother, as well as, in my experience, with any other women, he interacts with.  He is polite and respectful, in true Texas style. 

     Seth, in my estimation, is a smarter, darker, possibly funnier(time will tell) version of myself.  We may be flip sides of the same coin.  While I can be pretty self depricating, Seth has turned it into an art form, of which, he is certainly a master.  While I am fully capable of being vulgar or obscene(a fact I’ve always been fairly proud of), he has an innate talent for working four letter words into a sentence in a way that looks as if they were made specifically to serve his purposes.  If I am an angry young man, Seth is a virtual atom bomb of seething rage.  This is one of the things I like best about the man.  He’s honest about his anger, which is, largely, turned inward.  I don’t know why, but this is another one of those things we have in common.  Is it a symptom of some illness, a fatal character flaw, or is it the impetus that inspires us?  Maybe it’s what makes us tick, makes us interesting, leads us to improve.  Afterall, not everyone works to improve themselves out of a sense of responsiblity.  Actually, based on my previous experience, most of us improve ourselves in an effort to prove someone wrong, or to prove something to ourselves… Perhaps we want to prove we’re not as screwed up as everyone thinks we are.  Or maybe we’re trying to throw our success in the faces of those who counted us unimpressive, uninteresting, or unworthy of their approval.   At any rate, we do seem to share the trait of being tempestuous, mercurial personalities, as well as reasonably dynamic, in nature.  Now that I think about it… Seth may not be angrier than I am.  It’s entirely possible that he’s just more honest about it.  I will say that, either way you choose to look at the situation, we are definitely walking similar roads.  We, probably, started from different places… I know that nearly all of my pains and obstacles are self inflicted, and I would not presume to speak for Seth, on this point.  Another point where we appear to be on the same page is our humor.  It’s dark, it’s gritty, it’s funny because it’s true(sometimes).  But, again, I feel like I might be overmatched.  I can make people laugh, but when I read some of his work… It suffices to say that it makes my sides ache.  It is my hope that I can talk with him, soon, about some form of collaborative effort.  The planning of  which,  I am still working on.

     So, while I continue my effort to figure out what this life has to offer a rebelious, intelligent, inspiration hungry man in his, now, late twenties. I will leave you with this thought:  I’d rather be a fence post in Texas, than the king of _____________!