Big Me, Little You, Glass Houses, Kettles, and the Bible


event_215863632
I want to let you in on a little secret:

Your shit does stink.

Oh yes, it truly does.  But, don’t feel singled out though, because mine does too.  In fact, all of ours does from time to time… or maybe all the time, depending on how much of a judgmental and vocal S.O.B. you are.

What am I driving at here?  Well, for one, I am driving at how carelessly people judge others without ever taken even a moments pause to examine themselves.

We all do it.  We judge everyone… from those closest to us, to those we will likely never encounter in real life…  We do it all the time, and most of the time don’t even realize we are doing it.

We all know better.  How many times have we been reminded not to do it?  How many times have others called us out?

Chalk it up to “people in glass houses should not be throwing stones.” Refer to it as the “pot calling the kettle black.” Or go straight biblical with it and declare, “Let he without sin cast the first stone.”

However you choose to look at it, my simple suggestion is as follows:

Never hold others to a higher standard than you hold yourself.  

And, after that, if you still feel you are justified in your view of someone, make sure you give them positive criticism (in which you offer a suggestion for a solution on how they might improve to meet and exceed the standard you feel they have not met). 

Pretty simple to understand, pretty hard (for a lot of us, apparently) to live by. Perhaps, taking a moment to reflect and looking inward before starting to wave the accusation finger around is a better tact than aggressively judging someone as “bad” or “wrong” and then simply dismissing them?

At the end of the day, people see right through the “big me, little you” bravado…

And nobody wears that style of hypocrisy well.  Not you, not me, not anyone.

Advertisements

When Status Trumps Success

status-money-looks-success_DSC9851It always baffles me when people are more concerned with acquiring status that than they are with achieving success.  In today’s world of instant gratification and entitlement, it’s no surprise that America pays attention to (if not idolizes) individuals, not for their success, but instead for their status.

If your aim is notoriety, call up Paris Hilton or a Kardashian sister and start hanging out with them. They have a pretty good grasp on being recognized for achieving… well, nothing. Maybe try out for a reality TV show, or try to beat Tila Tequila as the “most friended” person on MySpace (does anyone use that site anymore?  An outdated reference, for sure, but you get the picture).  Why not be Bruce Jenner’s son, Brody?  What exactly is it that he does?  Or maybe be a Kevin Federline and knock up Britney Spears?  Or how about just two words… Jersey Shore?  Two more… Real Housewives?

Yet, if your true aim is to be successful, and not just someone with status that ranks alongside the list above, might I suggest you choose a passion, choose a craft, choose an endeavor, choose a career…. and pursue it… perfect it.

You have to ask yourself, is it the destination, or the adventure along the way that gets you out of bed in the morning?

Side note: Wasn’t it Linda Evangelista who once famously said, “We (super models) don’t wake up for less than $10,000 a day”???  I don’t view her as successful, by the way.  Professionally good looking (if that’s a thing), sure.  But successful in the pursuit of something… no.  Being born good looking is the equivalent of being born a Hilton sister and inheriting a ton of money.  You didn’t earn anything you have, and the status that has arisen from what you have been given is not the result of any real or hard work you have done.

That must be terribly unrewarding?  Sure, you are never left in want of anything, but then again, you never have the satisfaction of feeling what it is like to work for something, to refine it, to perfect it, to earn it… to achieve… to succeed.

And how you must also be lacking in identity when you are tied to a status instead of a success.  I mean, who is Paris Hilton without money?  Just another skinny blonde.  And Brody?  Just some So Cal dude who was gifted the unfortunate bro name of Brody.

But, before I go too far off on a tangent, I digress.  I want to get back on message.  This is about being successful.  About achieving and earning success.  This is about doing instead of being given.

I think David Frost can help me sum this all up nicely.

“Don’t aim for success if you want it; just do what you love and believe in, and it will come naturally.” – David Frost

Thank you Mr. Frost, for being the only name mentioned in this post who actually did anything to grant himself the status he deserves… that of a successful man.

The Willingness to Risk is the Reward

risk-and-rewardNot everyone will share a common vision or belief in your life goals.

And, as it turns out, that is perfectly fine.

Certain individuals you come across in your lifetime (traditionally the small of mind and spirit… those who find themselves to be the slaves to both doubt and fear of failure) will be most vocal about their doubts in your ability for success. Further, some individuals, for whatever reason (and usually a reason you will never know), will even take pleasure in your failures.

And, again, as it turns out, that is perfectly fine.

Everyone is entitled to opinion. And that is where it starts and stops. The opinions of those who doubt your goals and abilities are not prophecies. If anything, the negative opinions a person has of you are simply an indication of the esteem with which you should be holding that person.

In my time, I have found that an undying belief in yourself and an unwavering commitment to your goals, regardless of the opinions of others, is a necessary component to success.

Not everyone is cut out to take risks. Not everyone is equipped to deal with failure. That’s on them. Not you.

I am not risk averse. In fact, I thrive on the uncertainty of outcome in my pursuits. I have failed more times than I can count… but by continually putting myself into arenas with hard edges (those with wins and loses, successes and failures, blacks and whites) I have also achieved a number of things that I will hold dear for the rest of my life… Successes and experiences that have shaped and continue to shape me as a person. Through each endeavor, be it a success or failure, I learn more about myself. And thus, through each endeavor, I experience moments of personal growth.

My advice, if there is any to be offered here, is to surround yourself with like-minded, positive people. Spend your time, effort, and energy with those who support you, and those who are loyal to you. Cultivate the relationships that move you forward.

Life is too short to be stuck in the murky cloudy gray of doubt. So why not pursue your goals and passions, regardless of potential outcome? At worst, you fail… and then wake up the next morning with the realization that the sky hasn’t fallen and that life goes on.

On the other hand, who knows, you might just succeed…

Finding Hero

super_heroI was never a comic books kid.  Never connected with “super heroes.”  I didn’t really discover Superman, Batman, or Wolverine until the box office started cranking out the movies and capitalizing on a market of now-adults looking to relive there childhoods.  I really enjoy the Hollywood films now and again, but it’s not like I am currently taking up a comic book collection and wishing I had super powers.

I loved sports as a kid.  Still do.  I spent most of my time growing up playing outside (mom insisted, even though Nintendo was new on the scene).  When I did watch TV, I watched sports.  I grew up in the era of Michael Jordan, Andre Agassi, Michael Johnson, Karl Malone, Wayne Gretzky, etc.  Real athletes achieving some unreal things.  And yet, I guess all I can say is, they were great and all, and I enjoyed watching them, but they were not my heroes.  These athletes all did some really inspiring things, but none of them resonated with me as a hero.  On a side note, I also grew up in the era of athletes doing some bad things.  I knew better then, and still know better now than to have idolized Dennis Rodman (North Korea, you can keep him).  I learned it’s never a good idea to bet on baseball (talking to you, Pete Rose). I saw what Tanya Harding did to Nancy Kerrigan (girls gone wild, for real).  I watched, we all watched, the OJ trial (I wonder how easy/hard it is to sell a 92 white Ford Bronco)…

I ended up studying politics in college but, it’s not like I idolized George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, Madeleine Albright, Bob Dole, and/or Dan Quayle “potatoe.”

I understood the whole Ghandhi, Pope, Mother Teresa thing… but there was absolutely no way I was going to live up to those standards.  So, although I could be in awe of the way they all chose to live life, I couldn’t relate enough to allow them to be my heroes.

So, who was my hero as a youngster then?  Well, my father was.  And he still is.  That will never change.

Let’s define hero:

a :  a mythological or legendary figure often of divine descent endowed with great strength or ability

b :  an illustrious warrior

c :  a man admired for his achievements and noble qualities

d :  one who shows great courage

Well, that pretty much sums up my father.  How could it not?

As a kid, you are always in awe of your father’s strength and abilities.  The effortless manner in which he picks you up off the ground, swings you around in circles by your arms, throws you in the air, then lays you back down on the grass, holding you down with one hand and tickling you into submission with the other.  You are secretly hoping you can one day be as strong as him.  To one day wield that much power.

As a kid you see your father as a protector, a warrior, a defender of the family.  I have seen my father in a few altercations when I was growing up.  Nothing too serious, and nothing that came to blows… because I am pretty sure the other guy knew better.  You know, the usual… drunk dude at a football game makes a comment to the family, thinking he is funny.  Father “corrects” him.  Guy puffs up.  Father continues to stand ground and shows a willingness to offer an even more firm “correction” if necessary.  Guy thinks better of it, backs down.  That sort of thing.  Moral of the story, I would not then, and still would not now, fuck with my father.  Especially now that he has “old man strength!”

It is not as a kid, but now that I realize just how much my father has achieved in his life.  Having been in the “real world” now for a while, I realize just how noble his accomplishments are.  Beyond work, beyond wealth, I realize just how noble a pursuit it was for him and my mother to raise me and my asshole brothers.  Good on you, Dad and Mom.

And yes, the courage it must have taken, and still does (as I realize no matter how old I get, I will always be my mother and father’s son) to raise children is exceptional.

I work hard to emulate my father.  Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, they say.  I hope my Dad is flattered.  Because  I am trying hard… and if I could become a tenth the man that he is, I will have done okay in this world.

I think the fact that I never idolized a hero outside of my family is a testament to the achievements and commitments of my father.  I never needed to go outside the family to fulfill a need for inspiration.  My father provided me a happy and healthy childhood and he taught me to be a man.  He did this by example and he did this by word and he did this by reprimand.  And he did it all with love.

My father never scored 50 points a game, he never had a shoe line named after him, he never competed in the Olympics.  He did not hold political office, he did not try to solve world hunger or create world peace.  He can’t walk on walls and doesn’t swing from webs.

But I will forgive all that… because he showed me what it was to be a real man… and a real man is what he has made of me.  And that is a truly heroic feat, in and of itself.

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/2014/01/10/daily-prompt-hero/

The Outsiders

200px-The_Outsiders_bookWhenever I hear the term “outsider,” I immediately word associate and next thing you know I am throwing out terms like, “PonyBoy, Sodapop, Greasers and Socs, (of course, from the novel The Outsiders)… West Side Story, The Great Gatsby, and dare I say Romeo and Juliet…

And what do they all have in common?  In very simple terms, they all revolve around an “opposite sides of the tracks” storyline… They focus on the difficulty and peril associated with/resulting from crossing those tracks…  They are all stories with sad and tragic end… Cautionary tales of trying to live outside of ones given “place” in life.

To be an outsider is to be without means.  To be an outsider is to be of a lower social status.  To be an outsider is to be of lower socioeconomic status.  To be an outsider is to be lacking in power.  To be an outsider is to be left asking the question, “And what exactly makes them/you so much fucking  better than me?!”

In its basic, purest form, and outsider is exactly as it sounds… it is to be someone on the outside of a seemingly desirable existence, looking in.  If the outsider is you, then whatever it is you want (status, respect, a woman)… you see it, you want it, you likely even attempt a go after it…  But you are quickly reminded by society,  “it is not for you.”

What a bitter pill to swallow.  And many of the previously mentioned stories and their tragic ends result from the decisions and actions arising from an unwillingness to swallow that pill.  (But, in many of these stories, society insists the pill be swallowed and forces it down anyway… tragedy ensues).

But these are not just stories, in the sense of something you would read, say you read, and possibly remember reading it a few weeks down the road.  No.  These are great, widely read, critically acclaimed stories, that you never forget, no matter how long ago you read them.  And why?

Because of the way we can all relate to them.  In some form or other, we all relate.  There is an emotional connection to these stories.  They resonate with all of us.

At some point in time or maybe even what feels like (or is) all the time, each of us can relate to what it is to be and to feel like an outsider.  Maybe the group you want to associate with will not accept you?  Maybe the socioeconomic status you are looking to acquire you have not yet achieved?  Maybe the type of woman you wish you could be with is out of your reach, and you have to settle to see her pass by on the arm of “that guy?!”  Maybe it’s racism, maybe sexism, maybe bullying…

Whatever the reason, we can all relate to being an outsider.

So, before I get too long winded, if we all can relate to these stories of lacking and want.  If we all can see ourselves as the outsider from the wrong side of the tracks.  If we all can relate to feeling we cannot have something we truly desire… then this begs the question:

Who the hell are the insiders?!  And if the outsiders so greatly outnumber the insiders, and the thing that bonds the outsiders is the empathy of shared struggle, what is it that the insiders have exactly that we want?  Beyond status, or money, or some other materialistic or socially constructed entity, what is greater and more powerful than the bond of shared human experience?

What is more powerful than being able to relate to other people?

They say its “lonely at the top.”  And perhaps this discussion of outsiders is just one other way of confirming that expression.  And yet, despite it all, we all climb as high as we can.  We all scramble and hustle and grind…  Trying desperately to improve our expereince, our socioeconomic status, and our social acceptance.

Why?  Well, in short, The American Dream… but that is a post for another day.

Jealousy

A2G2186I have been with her for about six months now.  It has a title, and yes, she is my girlfriend.  I claim her and she claims me.  We are committed to one another.

It’s a typical night out.  We are at a bar.  Friends of hers are there, as are friends of mine.  While I am catching up with my buddies, she stands maybe ten feet away, in a circle of girlfriends.  Everyone is having a great time.  Catching up, laughing, drinking, the usual.

And, right on cue, enter that group of guys… you know the group I’m talking about.  The group of swaggering single  dudes with their heads on swivels.  The pack of hunters.  The pride of lions (or jackals depending on the personalities).  The dudes dead set on chatting up women and landing phone numbers… if not more.  Prowlers.  I know exactly what these dudes are up to, but I have no disdain for any of them.  I was single not too long ago, so I know what it is to be out with your close single buddies, looking to meet women.

I notice one guy in particular eyeing my girlfriend.  He musters up the courage, walks right up to her, says hi, and tries to get a conversation going. My girlfriend smiles politely, indulges him with a light conversation, acts like a lady, and then tells the guy to have a good night.

My girlfriend has it all figured out, and my life is easier for it.

You see, as this is all going down, despite some random dude hitting on my girlfriend, I am more focused on what’s going on with my buddies and their lives.  One of my friends notices the guy hitting on my girlfriend and points it out to our group.  My buddies ask me if I am jealous.  I simply respond “nope.”  When pressed as to why not, I offer a two part response.

One:

Simply stated, who wants to be with someone that no one else wants to be with?  When a guy walks up to your girlfriend in a bar, you should be flattered.  Good for that guy… he has great taste.  You should also be secure enough in yourself and your relationship that you don’t see the guy as a threat.  And further still, why shouldn’t your woman be made to feel attractive by someone else?  It’s okay for her to feel attractive and beautiful beyond you.  So, for those reasons, I am okay with this random dude validating the same things I see in my girlfriend… a beautiful, kind, and engaging woman.

Two:

On the opposite side of the equation, if my girlfriend ever attempted to make me jealous, I would simply back myself and let her know that I won’t stand for it.  There are women I have dated who would use jealousy as a tactic.  They would try and make me jealous by flirting with guys at a bar in front of me, mentioning guys randomly in casual conversation, bringing up ex boyfriends and what they “used to do,” etc.  My response was always the same… cut it out.  That kind of nonsense doesn’t fly with me.  When I am in a relationship, I go out of my way to make my girlfriend feel secure.  I couldn’t imagine actively attempting to make a girlfriend jealous or insecure.  What kind of a relationship is that?!

So, as I sit on the bar stool, chatting with my buddies, and this guy hits on my girlfriend not more than ten feet from me, and I am perfectly content.  Not a care in the world.  She is a big girl, and she can handle herself.  So, I don’t need to spring to her rescue and defend her honor.  Now, if the guy said or did anything disrespectful, that would be another story.  I have no trouble addressing disrespect, especially the disrespect of someone I hold dear to me, and even more especially the a male showing disrespect toward a female.  But again, the guy is just hitting on her, trying his best.  I get it.  I’ve been there.  Again, good for that guy… he has great taste.

In the midst of it all going down, my girlfriend glances over and grins a reassuring grin.  I do the same with a nod and a smile.  And that is all that is needed.  She is a big girl, she can handle herself.  And for that reason, I don’t have a care in the world.  Just another great night out with my lady and my friends.

Know Your Role

MyRoleIsThere is always a lot of talk and focus on the “right people” in our lives… how lucky or blessed we are to have those certain people in our lives that enhance and improve our condition. And there is just as much focus on the opposite… how much we need to guard ourselves from inherently negative people and how important it is for us to distance ourselves from those who are energy suckers, users, abusers.

At the same time, I feel as though we often overlook our role/responsibility, either positive or negative, in other people’s lives. I wonder how many of us forget just how much of an effect we have over other people? I mean, how many of us actually think beyond ourselves and take the time to determine the impact we are having on someone else? And I don’t just mean the ones closest to us. But anyone we come across… at a grocery store, on the road, in business, at the post office, wherever. Everyone is living a life, experiencing a day, dealing with trials and tribulations. And although you may only feature in their daily story once, possibly for only 5 seconds, and despite the fact you could be viewed as an “extra” in their life story, you still play a role.

Perfect example… road rage. My day is marked, changed, cheapened by the guy or girl on the freeway who cuts me off and flips me off in a fit of rage (the reason for which I will never know). His or her actions change the tone of my day, no matter how much I try not to let it. Even if I don’t carry the episode with me through the day, the few minutes it takes me to find a place of calm informs my day.

Now, I am not going to debate the purpose of life here, but I am pretty sure it’s not about going through life being an asshole.

What I will say though is that if we thought more about how our actions and statements effect the days of the people we interact with (from those closest to us, to those we pass by while walking down the street), and we choose to try and make our actions and statements ones that stem from a positive mindset (no matter who we are interacting with… even if they themselves are jerks) we might just improve the overall day to day human condition.

Resolutions and the Other 364 Days

2011-year-resolution-400x400As New Years Eve approaches, we take pause and reflect on the year that has passed.

“2013 was a _______  year!” you will say.  Some will reflect fondly on 2013, and others will be happy just to see it tucked away in the records books.  And yet, regardless of your thoughts on 2013, you are already looking forward to the prospect and the promise of the coming year…  As you should.

“This year will be different… better!” you might say.  But will it?  Will this year be the one in which you finally “turn it all around?”  And if so, why is it that the arbitrary date of January one be the moment in which the change will occur?  Were the other 364 days past not worthy of change?  Is there something about the first of the year that grants everyone some sort of yearly reset, in which the past is forgotten and the future is presented with an even greater possibility?  Is there something about the first of the year that grants us more will power, dedication, and determination than we had in the year, month, week, day previous?

My point is this…

Life is meant to be lived… everyday.  Not just one day a year.  Buying in to thinking that January first is any different from May first is a waste of 364 perfectly viable days to make the changes and do the things you’ve always wanted to do in life.

Don’t get me wrong, I think it great that we all share a common goal in the commitment to resolutions on January first.  There is a great power in community.  Yet, after the dust settles from the New Years Eve celebrations, that community, solidified by the resolutions made on the 31st or the first, falls apart as early as the second of the month.  Why?  Because there is no communal sense of accountability to those resolutions.  If you don’t make good on your “promise” to yourself, that’s on you.  The community won’t scold you for it.  It won’t call you out.  It won’t help you see it through, or even check on your progress.

For this reason, although it is a communal thing to make resolutions, and announce them in front of friends and family, or on Facebook and Twitter, have any of us actually been held accountable (beyond ourselves) to see the resolutions through?

And this brings me back to my original point.  Aside from all the “fun” and the “tradition” of making resolutions on the first, any other of the 364 days of a year are suitable to make changes in your life for the better, suitable to be resolute in those changes, and suitable to take the necessary steps to see the changes through on a day to day basis.  After all, change is (usually) not an overnight phenomenon.  It is instead a series of daily affirmations and reinforcements, which become your new “normal” over a period of time.  It only takes a moment to make a resolution, but can take days, months, or even years to see it through.

And sometimes, change cannot wait.  The answer to “when is the right time to take action?  When is the right time to implement positive change in my life?” is always… Now.  There truly is no time like the present.

So here’s to to living life with urgency… everyday.  Here’s to sleeping when we are dead and here’s to having the peace of mind that any day of the year, especially today (whatever calendar day that might be) is exactly the right day to “turn it all around” for the better.

I wish you all a Happy New Year… every single day of it.

A Man Must Have A Code

code-of-ethicsI cannot respect nor trust a man who does not have an identifiable ethos or moral code by which he lives, by which he adheres. To lack in moral compass and fiber is no way for a man to go through life. There should be a certain pride in the consistency, stability, and predictability of one’s nature and actions across all situations. A man should have a foundational backbone from which he bases his decisions, interactions, and general behavior in life. And he should take ownership of this process… whether he is good or bad, right or wrong… He should own it. Not shy away from it, not hide in the “grey areas” of life.

Man up.  Adhere to a code and live by it.

Pushing Rope

a211ittlewonderropeIt’s very late.  I am very drunk.  And so is she.  I just met her tonight… an introduction through a mutual friend.  She seems very cool.  But what do we really know about someone we have just met, with whom most of the conversation is alcohol fueled?  She could be the greatest woman on the face of the planet, or the craziest, or somewhere in between.  No way to tell right now.  All I know is that she is sexy… and I want her.  She is tall, blonde, curvy, beautiful, well-dressed, well-spoken, intelligent, and has a sense of humor (and yes, this order reflects the order in which I noticed things about her… not in order of importance, mind you, but in a natural order when you meet someone for the first time).

So again, she seems cool.

The night goes on.  We hop from bar to bar with our friends.  We gravitate more towards one another as the hours pass and the drinks pass with them.  It’s getting late, and the two of us have long since forgotten we were even out with friends.  It’s as if it had been just the two of us since the beginning of the night. A good sign.

Closing time.

As we walk out of the bar I somewhat casually, mostly drunkenly ask, “What should we do now?”  Without hesitation she responds, “You live near here don’t you?”

And with that, we walk hand in hand down a few blocks to my place.  We are met outside by one of my buddies.  He had cut out from the group early to wrestle up some Mexican food, before passing out on my couch for the night (the usual pattern, and a good one in my mind.  DUIs do not sit well on anyone’s record).

So the three of us ascend into my place.  We hang out for a while, watch something on Netflix and we chat with my buddy as he downs his food.  We probably have another drink or two, but at this point I would have no recollection, nor do I care.

My buddy is done eating and the episode playing on TV ends.

And that signals the night’s end… or the beginning of a cruel and hellish journey if you were me.

I lead her into my room.  No sooner do we close the door, she strips off her clothes and jumps into bed (I told you she seems cool).  I do the same.  We quickly press up against one another and start passionately (more accurately, drunkenly) hooking up.  One thing leads to another and it is clearly “go time.”  But, as I reach into the night stand for a condom (safety first, and always), I notice something…

For the first time in my life, I have no feeling down below.  NONE.  There is no mind body connection.  I had simply assumed I was good to go.

I am not.  Not even close.

“This can’t be happening right now!?” I think to myself.

She notices.  She sees (and feels) what is happening.  And in what she likely thought was a sensitive verbal response, but what turned out to be the most devastating words I have ever heard in the bedroom, she says, “Maybe we should just go to sleep?”

I sigh the most deflating sigh.  She rolls over.  I don’t even try to tell her that this is the first time.  But you know what?  IT IS!  I have never had this happen.  Not once.  Not ever.  Never.

I am on my back staring up into the dark ceiling.  And in this moment, I a filled with disappointment and unrivaled shame.  But it only lasts a fleeting second, as the disappointment and shame quickly turns into unadulterated, drunken fear.

In this moment, I am somehow convinced that this condition is permanent.  I am convinced that I will never be able to get an erection again (alcohol fueled logic).

I let a few minutes pass, trying to think of my next move.  I come up with nothing.  I panic.  I jump out of bed and pull on a pair of shorts.  I leave my room and head out to the kitchen.  I stop at the couch along the way.  I wake my buddy up.  “Hey man, wakeup.  Hey!”  He stirs.  I crouch down low, eye level with him.  I look him dead in the face and say, “Dude, I can’t get it up.  For the first time in my life I can’t get hard.”  And as the true friend he is, he looks me back, dead in the face and says,

“Well man… You’re getting old.”

And with that he rolls back over on the couch and shuts me out so he can get back to sleep.

In this moment, I am the loneliest I have ever been…

But I refuse to pity myself, and I refuse to give up so easily and accept my current condition as my ultimate fate. Despite the fear and the loneliness, I reach deep and find my determination again.  I am going to will myself hard if it’s the last thing I do.

So, I stumble through the kitchen in the dark.  I take ever supplement, every vitamin, every protein powder I have and down them.  Multis, vitamin C, zinc, protein powder, you name it.  Down them all, and in massive quantity.  I then open the fridge and grab a Gatorade.  I take the Gatorade with me as I head to the bathroom.

As I arrive in the bathroom, I turn on the light and stare at myself in the mirror.  I am drunk.  Fucked up. Haggard. But I am determined.  I try prodding myself on.  I use my imagination to start.  Yet, despite me trying to picture the most intensely sexual scenarios I can, there is still no feeling.

Time passes.  Minutes become a half hour.  A half hour becomes an hour.  All the while I am hydrating, waiting for the supplements to kick in (like those would actually help my condition?!), and gently, forcefully, gently, quickly, slowly, forcefully… well… offering myself a helping hand, so to speak.

I may well have been using my tears as lubrication at this point.  I am so supremely confident that I have a broken penis and that it will be broken for the rest of my life.

And then, just as I am about ready to call it quits and head back to bed a defeated, shriveled man, I start to feel blood rushing down south.  I start to feel life in my otherwise lifeless member.  I prod it on.  I may have even verbally cheered it on at this point.  I can’t remember.

Can you imagine?!  A naked dude in a bathroom, drinking a Gatorade, masturbating, and drunkenly talking to his penis, cheering it on along the way?!  Yeah, that guy was me.  I’m not proud of it.  But I was going to get an erection by any means necessary.  I had a woman in that room who thought she was coming home with a man, and I intended to prove her right.

How funny a thing like pride can be.  The things pride will make you do.  The things proving your manhood will make you do, for that matter…

There is now enough life in me now that I decide to leave the bathroom and head back to bed.  No guarantees at this point.  She is likely passed out, and over it.  And who could blame her?!  This is definitely not what she signed up for.  All my struggle to regain stiffness may well have been in vain.  But, at this point, I am simply relieved to know that my flaccidity is not permanent.  I will take a working penis as my consolation prize, even if I am not granted the opportunity to prove it works.

I will spare you any and all of the intimate details from this point on.  They really don’t matter, and this isn’t Fifty Shades of Grey.

I found myself reviewing what had happened the next morning.  The most interesting thing I found myself thinking was how interesting is it to discover just how much I connect my erection with my sense of being a “real man?”  When I entered the evening, an evening full of potential and fun, I had no idea that what should have been a simple biological response to a strong stimulus was to become an epic odyssey, a profound physical and emotional struggle.

And this was just a one off for me.  I cannot imagine what it is like for those who deal with erectile disfunction.  It’s no wonder Viagra and Cialis do so much business.  Until my erection was taken from me, if only for an hour, did I truly realize how much I took it for granted.

I am not sure what the take away is here.  I feel for those who deal with this issue on a frequent basis, and am therefore happy for modern medicine?!  I am not a pharmaceuticals guy, but I am beginning to back the little blue pill, and yet hoping I will never need it.  I hope that women who encounter this issue are sympathetic to the the men who are dealing with it.  I have heard women casually state “yeah, he was never able to keep it hard” or “he couldn’t get it up” as a snub, a condescension, a dig.  And trust me, it is!  A direct attack on one’s manhood.  As such, I am relatively sure the woman I was with that night reported to her friends that (initially) I couldn’t get it up either.  And there is an inherent shame in that.  I felt/feel shame that I was unable to perform.  I felt less a man.  So ladies, please tread lightly.

Lastly, I hope you enjoy the ridiculous nature in which I try and overcome things.  I am an overachiever by nature, and have a serious amount of will power.  So yes, this was in fact a ridiculous story of triumph over tragedy for me…  I snatched victory from the jaws of defeat… and got the girl.

America loves a great comeback story, right?