Monday, January 26, 2015

I was passed over for a promotion today at my job, because the person in charge of hiring felt that I lacked the ability to motivate and inspire. The person who got the job--who I respect tremendously--is an outgoing woman with an outgoing personality, and it is much easier to see results with someone with a learning style like that. My managerial style, actually my entire style, is all about being understated, subtle, but equally as effective and my results were and are just as impactful as hers (well not JUST as impactful otherwise I would have gotten the fucking job). But just as closed mouths don't get fed, I suppose the same can be said for reserved ones, so this is my fault. It certainly doesn't lessen the hurt and irritation. I'll come up with a Plan B in a couple of days. But to get dealt that type of a blow not even a week after my 40th birthday definitely makes a mark on my psyche. I have to do better.

Speaking of birthdays, my mother turns 63 today, and she celebrated by asking a male friend of hers (she claims they are not dating) to accompany her to dinner. My mother and this class act of a gentleman have dinner together, and when the bill comes, he not only does not offer to pay, but he makes it his business to tell my mother, "I don't have any money, if you wanted me to pay, you should have given me a heads up". And no I'm not fabricating this story.

First off, I have plenty of female friends who I'm not interested in, who I would willingly come out of my pocket for on their birthday. It is just the honorable and polite thing to do for someone on their birthday, and it speaks volumes about one's character when the type of gesture is extended, just like it speaks volumes about one's lack of character when those actions are not taken. Second what grown man comes out of the house with no money, eats a full mean like this is a scene out of the movie Soul Food, and the boldly makes a declaration of poverty on a full stomach. To quote one of my favorite ushers at the Wizards' games, "Where they do that at?"

I hear stories from women my age and younger, about how some dudes are lazy and don't want to properly woo a woman, but I've never heard a 60-plus year old man do something that egregious. My mother (and other ladies) deserves better on her birthday.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

"So what do you do?"

I don't know why this question annoys me so damn much, but it does. I didn't like that question when I was dating, and the girl's friends/parents would ask me that question, and I don't like it when it comes up in happy hours, Christmas parties, and other functions.

It isn't like I'm ashamed of either one of my jobs. By day I'm a project supervisor for the 9-11 Victims Compensation Fund, and by night I write for the ESPN True Hoop blog, Truth About It. Both jobs spark plenty of conversation with someone I deem worthy to share it with, but I just resent that question being acceptable fodder for public settings. Plus half the time I think it is an excuse for someone to a)judge or b) barely pay attention to your answer, so they can hurry up and tell you what the hell they do.

For example, this past Thursday I attended a happy hour with co-workers, and some friends of some of my co-workers decided to show. Initially everything was going lovely. Drinks were consumed, hookah were smoked and meaningless conversation about sports, politics and the weather flowed as easily as the alcohol. Then one of the women asked the dreaded question and the following conversation went down:

Her: So Rashad what do you do?
Me: I'm a Project Supervisor and I'm a sportswriter
Her (pausing): Oh, so you're not an attorney (she was, and so are some of my co-workers)
Me: I am not
Her: Oh, well I'm an attorney
Me: So Whoopty Damn Do (I didn't really say that)

After she realized I was not an attorney, there was the most awkward of silences, and she abandoned me to talk to someone else, and I kept on imbibing and smoking. She didn't ask me more questions, or try to strike up some common ground banter, it just was awkward. Although if I'm being honest, even if she had started asking me legitimate, pointed questions about my professions, I probably would have shut her ass down and walked away. If I'm drinking and smoking, I want to have mindless time, not thing about work.

I told my wife that the next time we go out, and someone asks me that, I'm going to just tell everyone I'm a high school janitor, and just roll with that all night. That ought to go over great...or at the very least produce yet another exciting blog.

Monday, January 12, 2015

So last week I did this diet with my wife called, "The Military Diet". The wife lost 15-20 lbs last year doing this diet, and she looks fantastic, and she's been asking me to join in on the fun with her, but I had refused for the longest time. I respect the power of diets, but I much prefer to run, swim, skip rope and basically do a triathlon to get my excess weight off. I don't get too many chances to flex my athletic prowess anymore, so I rely on my workouts to fill that void. But last week I decided to give in and make the magic happen. The diet is all about depriving yourself with as little food as possible, and as a result of all this malnourishment, I was cranky as hell for the three days (ok two and a half) I had to the diet. The worst part of the diet was eating a grapefruit.

Now, I'm a huge fan of grapefruit juice. My late grandmother kept her some grapefruit juice in the fridge, and despite its occasionally bitter taste, I drank it like a champ because she did. I've also tasted the Ruby Red grapefruit juice, but that's cheating because they sweeten up way more than is necessary. Natural grapefruit juice does the trick as well. But in my 39 years of living on this Earth, I had never eaten a grapefruit, and now this diet was completely taking me out of my comfort zone and forcing me to tackle this unknown monster.

Before I left the house, I got a brief tutorial from the wife on how to eat it...the grapefruit that is. She said to take a knife and cut all the way to create about 7 or 8 different sections, and then to take that same knife and cut in a circle which would allow me to scoop up the pieces of grapefruit. It sounded easy enough, so I got to work and sat down, I tried this method and all hell broke loose. I cut the grapefruit in sections, and in the process, it squirted all over my good work clothes. Still, I thought that was just part of the risk involved when eating this fruit, so I pressed on and went to step two of the plan. I took a knife around the edges of the fruit, and more squirting went down. On top of that, I was unable to dislodge the grapefruit from the skin, so I started slicing and dicing everything in sight with the knife. All that resulted in was more squirting and frustration.

So at this point, I picked up the fruit, and just sucked all the damn juice I could out of it. I literally treated the fruit like it was a juice box, turned it upside down, and drank that sh*t like a champ. Mind you, I had co-workers walking by my desk periodically, so I had to be as smooth and discreet as possible. I have a (work) image to uphold. So here I was, holding a juiceless grapefruit, trying to figure out how the hell to get the mangled pieces of grapefruit out without looking like a complete savage at my place of employment. Finally, I looked left, then right, picked up the grapefruit, and ate it like Little Black Sambo. It was pitiful, and I'm quite sure I set the race way back, but I conquered the grapefruit like a champ. Needless to say, I will not ever eat that thing again. The grapefruit I mean...

Tuesday, January 06, 2015

Being a father has taken a little starch out of the militant stances I've taken in the past. My son (as all kids do), gravitates towards boys and girls of all colors and races, which means I have to interact with the parents of all these wonderful flavors of kids. I have no problems with interacting with parents of all races (which sounds just like "all my best friends are black"), but interacting with other adults leads to awkward pauses, extended silence and even more extended conversations about kid-related things which is not my deal. This is not why I am inserting race into this particular conversation.

After taking in a steady diet of kiddie movies and television shows, I am noticing that this line of kid programming---which shouldn't surprise me given what adult programming is looking like these days--is disproportionately white. I guess I don't notice it as much with my shows, because thanks to Netflix, Hulu, and other apps designed to compartmentalize my life, I'm able to play God with what I do and do not watch. But kiddie programming is much more limited, especially considering his dayc is multiracial and perhaps not as conscious of what a little black kid as I am. But from Toy Story, to Frozen, to Cars, Sprout TV all these movies and shows have lots of white people and white voices. Sesame Street, Madagascar and Shrek provide some relief, but even those contain voices and not young black faces on the television, that my little black kid can see and relate to on a daily basis.

The only two cartoons that young Nyles can view and feel like he's looking at someone who looks like him are Little Bill (not exactly the most popular of cartoons right now given Bill Cosby's clusterfuck of a personal life and Franklin from Charlie Brown. In fact when Nyles saw Franklin on tv during Charlie Brown's Thanksgiving special, he walked right up to the television, pointed at Franklin, and said, "That's Nyles". It made me smile that he felt that way, but it also broke my heart, that he saw so few brown folks on television, that he enthusiastically gravitated towards the first one. It was bittersweet.

Again, I get that kids and adults need to interact with all races, because that's an important skill to perfect the older one gets. But damn if it isn't equally as rewarding for a brown kid to see some brown people as affirmation that his people matter. That was one of the great benefits of Obama being elected president. Whether he was good, bad or mediocre, every damn day of the week, there would be lovers, haters and everything in between, discussing this man on all kind of media outlets every damn day. And for the most part, he's always referenced as the President. While I'm at it, that's what made the Cosby Show so damn good in the 80s. Here was a black family who was rich, close, cultured and articulate. I want my son to have a President, a dad and a multitude of television characters to watch when I chose to let him look at the television

Monday, January 05, 2015

For the second consecutive day I have been called out to do something greater, although this time it was one of my co-workers. She explained that I seemed to have gotten complacent at work, and that she sees much greater things out of me given my intelligence, but my work ethic lately leaves much to be desired. She went on to add that she feels like we've worked together long enough for her to be able to say the things that she did. I didn't disagree with a single word she said, and given that my father basically did the same thing to me the day before, I get the point. I can do more, and I will.

My wife took what I consider to be a great, great picture of my son and I laying on the couch yesterday. I want this framed and put on my desk at work. It shows love, trust, love and a genuine closeness between father and son. It also demonstrates that I have a reason to get off my ass and do better in all aspects of my life.

Sunday, January 04, 2015

This morning I called my dad to talk about the sad and premature death of Stuart Scott, when he started running down the list of writing projects I started and never finished. He kept saying "whatever happen to this" and "where are you on that", and I just felt like a little kid who didn't turn in my homework. I gave him the tried and true company line about being overwhelmed with being a father and a husband and having to juggle my paying job, my Wizards job and everything in between. He told me he certainly understood how I could get bogged down with all of those things, and then he said something that justifiably game me pause:

Rashad, you have a unique voice and there are people who want to hear you

Now I know my father is unbelievably biased when it comes to his son, and he has to say things to pump, me up. But he is on to something, because I have not been very good in following through with any of my writing projects--including this blog. And my attempts to restart this blog are literally well-documented, but my father's words resonated with me, so I will try yet again. It reminds me of the words of the late, great Ralph Wiley who wrote in the first sentence of his last column before he died, "All a man has is the integrity of his work".

My responsibilities will continue to increase, and it will continue to be a chore for me to blog, write meaningful articles about the Wizards, and do other things, but I have to do it. After all, I will turn 40 on January 20th, and I need to start cementing my legacy. There's no time like the present right?