Posts Tagged ‘excuses’

And then You Recognize that Homeless Person

Wednesday, August 2nd, 2017

Jogging around a neighborhood park, I realized the homeless woman sleeping under a tree is someone I’ve known most of my life. 

We were 15 once, and proud. She liked girls and I liked outcasts. Her Army buzzcut was black, blue, and brave, her sarcasm like a flamethrower. Pointed at you or not, it was dangerous to be near. She had an enviable wit I tried to emulate, and she could be as prickly and poker-faced as she was fast and funny. Being able to speak to her in ways others couldn’t was great.

All these years later and approaching the tree on my first lap, I saw only a female shape sleeping atop assorted backpacks and grocery bags. That particular bit of shade was usually occupied by sweethearts, fútbol hombres, or shadowboxing stroller-pushers, but I didn’t think much about it other than to mentally note the woman’s (relative) luck for claiming it first.

Staring straight ahead while I run helps me convey ultimate Kenyan focus, allowing me to mask the fact that I hate running and am actually dying inside. But the second time I passed the tree, I broke my gaze and glanced over. This woman was wearing Capri-style leggings, sunglasses, and a driver’s cap over her face. What I could see of it was weary.
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FULFILLMENT BEFORE FURY!

Wednesday, March 8th, 2017

There’s no excuse for getting all angst ridden over the day’s headlines before first accomplishing something meaningful. 

And there’s no excuse for partaking in America’s new national pastime –scratching the outrage itch– without first empowering yourself through personal performance. Fulfillment before fury!

Why? Because we live in a world that encourages us to agree with ourselves every chance we get. Because the strength we get from knowing that we put ourselves first has the power to declutter our thinking and make us feel as though we’ve earned something.

Examine the back end of any hard, successful day and track how much your sense of completion downgraded your anxiety. By comparison, how does a morning of social media feel, or reading articles from your preferred news outlets? (more…)

2016 EXCUSE OF THE YEAR

Friday, December 16th, 2016

2016_excuse-of-the-year_where-excuses-go-to-dieAnd the 2016 Golden Excuse is:

“He just calls it like he sees it.”

“He says what we’re thinking.”

“He tells it like it is.”

Three versions of the same excuse-to-pulverize, now a political allegory, courtesy of the charisma of crude. 

If “blunt” is a merit by which sincerity, mental acuity, and humor can be measured, it’s also an appraisal of manners. Because for those of grace, wit, or old age, plain speaking can be charming.

But… 

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Time to Stop Making Excuses

Sunday, December 4th, 2016

unfortunate-person-comics_where-excuses-go-to-dieOh, there are plenty of reasons to be frustrated with the world around us. And I do care who you voted for: I’m just not making excuses for letting it live on my shoulder and whisper in my ear.

I’m tired of tolerating increasingly thin justifications from friends and family to be – and remain – outraged. Never mind that I, too, am offended, righteously indignant, morally and socially insulted and feeling betrayed (I mean, Bad Santa 2? Really?). Why contribute to the stream of bitterness that’s become a raging river?

Yes, rationalizing has gotten hyper-stupid. After this year, our cop-outs have developed an overlapping quality where contexts mingle because we offer so many. It’s as though we need Venn diagrams or flow charts to see them clearly.

How many excuses do I make in a day? Well shit, I’m afraid to ask, for fear of being shown self-awarded behavior exemptions I don’t even know I’m making. But whether on a community level, a national level, or by ourselves in line at the grocery store, too many people seem to think they’re entitled to comfort zones in which their irritation reflexes and rude or hurtful antics can’t be called out for the warm-fart coping skills they are.  (more…)

There’s No Excuse for Baby Tattoos

Friday, March 20th, 2015

Notes-from-a-Non-parent-10_Where-Excuses-Go-to-DieC’mon, why baby tattoos? You wouldn’t have a picture of your tongue tattooed on your arm, would you?  

Well, aren’t we talking about something only a couple months shy of looking like someone’s tongue?

This non-parent certainly is.

The faces of most newborns don’t have nearly enough character to justify placement under your Mötorhead tattoo. Can I get a witness? Fresh babies are unshaped, rapidly evolving, and for all intents and purposes, under cooked. You wouldn’t want to look at it in a bowl, would you? Well to this non-parent, even highly stylized baby tattoos are not an improvement.

Besides, when a child is born and breathing for the first time, he or she doesn’t want to be there. He or she could care less about Creeper Ink on Piedmont Ave., or your penchant for over-sentimentalizing and mis-prioritizing your own emotional upheaval. (more…)

Second Chance Sexy

Thursday, January 22nd, 2015

People who screw up but handle it well
are more attractive than those who don’t. 

AVOID PSYCHIC CLUTTER_Where Excuses Go to DieThat’s no newsflash, but why do you suppose it’s true? What is it about second chances, and second chance stories, in which we find inspiration? Aren’t flaws and faults at the center of nearly any second chance?

Here’re a few things I’ve learned about errors and do-overs:

Excuse-makers are repellant. You can’t spend time behind bars without becoming intimately familiar with psychic clutter. Clutter comes in many forms, but people who consistently fall back on rationalizations, excuses, and denial are usually quite guarded, with mental walls of all shapes, sizes, and complexities. If you’ve ever lied to cover up a lie, psychic clutter isn’t new to you, either. It’s just that too few of us recognize how unappealing we become, stressing and tripping when our heads are filled with it.

Let us go forth with fear and courage and rage to save the worldDeniers are draining. We all have friends, family members, or co-workers with good traits, generous moments, and genuine talents, which makes it frustrating and disappointing to accept them fully (or even work around them) when they’re in bullshit mode. I don’t mean your actors and other neurotics, or even dinner guests who show up and start ticking off their food allergies – those are a different kind of drain altogether. I’m talking about blamers, focus-shifters, liars, counter-accusers, and verbal bullies. We might be cheerleaders for the parts of these people we appreciate, but after coming to terms with their weak-ass coping skills, we can’t help but feel betrayed. And while positive character traits may make a person worthy of a second chance, should they get a third or fourth? The more efficient and healthier option would be to move on to a less draining individual, but individual results may vary. (more…)

Book of the Year Finalist

Thursday, March 20th, 2014

From secret prison journal pages to 2013 Book of the Year finalist.

indiefab-finalist-imprintThis is for you, Lotus Weinstock – thank you.

With the national dialogue on prison and sentencing reform as loud as it’s ever been in America, I couldn’t be happier that ForeWord Reviews, a quarterly trade review journal, has chosen Where Excuses Go to Die as a finalist for its annual Book of the Year awards.

The winner will be announced in June, in Vegas, at the American Library Association’s yearly pow-wow.

Among 13 other candidates in the autobiography & memoir (adult nonfiction) category, Where Excuses Go to Die is a testament to the insight, character, and generosity of education professionals and workshop instructors to whom I surrendered while incarcerated for, coincidentally enough, the armed robbery of multiple bookstores.

It doesn’t matter whether or not the book wins. What matters is that the rehabilitative methodology and milestone approach used to get my attention back then remains the primary takeaway in any discussion of the book’s merits. (more…)