Monday, November 30, 2009


Okay, I’ll admit it: I’m scared to death of failure. But not in the way you think. I’m not afraid of failing. I’m afraid I haven’t failed enough.

I know what you’re thinking: “What the hell is wrong with you?” Yeah; I ask myself that all the time. I talk too much, I tell the same boring stories time and time again, and tell the same not-boring stories so many times that they quickly become boring. But nowhere on my list of what’s wrong with me does this particular problem show up.

I was listening to the radio this weekend and heard Malcolm Gladwell being interviewed by Tavis Smiley. Say what you will about Tavis Smiley, but he gets wonderful guests and is always well-prepped such that the interviewee always manages to say something noteworthy and interesting.

Gladwell started talking about his failures in the job market and the advertising world. He and Smiley reminisced that it seems all people who show amazing successes always failed first, or at least faced some sort of adversity.

This got me thinking. Sure I’m amidst a change from front-of-the-house of the music business, so to speak, and moving to the business side of the business, but am I too young and inexperienced for that to really count towards my failures and adversity check-box? I’ve had it pretty easy; no opportunity has been spared, I’ve never been fired from a job, I’ve never had any disability (aside from chronic knee issues, which I usually follow up with, “Yeah; so I’ll ice later…”), and I’ve never had any massive academic speed bumps.

Sure I’ve made mistakes, but do these count? Are these failures? Have I hit the ground enough to make me stand taller?

Of course, maybe just the fact that I’m thinking about this is enough. Or maybe I’m not giving my failures enough credit. Maybe quitting my job and being rejected by job after job since is enough, and I’m just lucky enough that my failures spanned a small chronological period.

And then, there’s the chance that Smiley and Gladwell are wrong, that success does, in fact, exist without massive failures.

Or my failure is yet to come.

Okay – now I’m scared of failure. And in the way you’d expect...

Friday, November 20, 2009

Another year, another birthday.

Another year has gone by, and for the 24th time, I survived my birthday.

Some years are easier than others – and I'm not talking about the year, I'm talking about my birthday itself. I'm not a big fan of my birthday, even though my mother wants to disown me when I say that. Part of it is that I don't like being the center of attention when I've done nothing more than being born. (I mean, let's be honest, my parents have a lot more to do with my birthday than I do. The only thing I've done to deserve a birthday is not die.) And part of it is that if I had my way, I'd spend my birthday in relative solitude, and people always make me feel quite guilty when I say I want no party or hoopla.

But anyway – this year was wonderful. All it takes is a few friends, in very small groups, and baked goods. Yes, baked goods.

I'd go all retrospective about the last year and where I was one year ago today, or I'd get all hopeful about where I'll be a year from now.

But I won't. Let's just say that things are good right now, and that's all I can focus on now – and all I should focus on.

So here's to not the next year, not the next month, but the next day.

Happy no-longer-birthday! 'Cause every day should be happy, not just one out of every 365. (Or 366 every 4th year...)

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

You know what they say...

"With a sharp enough knife, you don't need a cutting board."

Okay -- I don't think anybody's ever said that, but it sounds like a probable Southern Cliché, one that we all know has been said forever and must mean SOMETHING but we aren't quite sure what.

Maybe it means that the right tool doesn't need another. Or maybe it means you should keep a cutting board on hand if you don't own a knife sharpener. But I'll get back to the made-up cliché. For right now, I'm going to discuss actual clichés. Not any specific clichés, but clichés in general.

The thing about clichés is that almost everybody hates them, and yet everyone still uses them. (Of course, some people use way too many clichés, specifically sports figures at press conferences.) But there's something about clichés that makes them unique to annoying idioms; they're usually true. After all, things don't actually get repeated unless they're true.

I guess that's why it's so hard for me to come up with a new cliché; there seems to be no truth to the random sayings I manage to blurt out.

'Cause you know what they say: "Even the sharpest knife in the kitchen needs a cutting board."

And that's the truth!