Have you ever felt so drunk off a natural high, that somewhere inside you, you searched desperately for some way to exploit that power in the moment? You try every which way to fashion some kind of spontaneous crisis out of thin air so that your temporary “I don’t give a shit attitude” doesn’t go to waste—a burning building with some children inside, a sudden purse snatching, or perhaps a possible wardrobe malfunction that turns an accidentally exposed breast into a dinner for two—because let’s face it: there’s nothing more tragic than an unused erection. It’s one of only a few secrets inside the world of men: when the reign of a lazy boner comes to power and then fades, unnoticed, we cry inside.
(Note: if you’re not familiar with the term lazy boner, its an erection that suddenly appears out of nowhere without any erotic provocation; it’s the “natural boner”, if you will.)
Anyway, while plenty of my erections have gone to waste, this wasn’t the reason I was drunk with power earlier this week; no. The other day I was drunk off of something other than the surge of blind phallic warfare; I was helplessly intoxicated by those sweet syllables of complete liberation, that point at which the internal minder inside your head goes “yeaa…fuck this shit….” I was drunk from telling my boss that I’ll be quitting at the beginning of August. Let me tell you something folks: there’s nothing more satisfyingly crazy than putting your income in the hands of a precarious economy and throwing your future to the winds of a market where you’ve got to either sleep with someone, or blackmail someone who is, to get a job.
You may disagree, but that’s exactly how I felt while waltzing into that French bread shop on my lunch break the other day with my fellow colleague. After two years of trying to explain the shortcomings of her potentially great English school, we pretty much gave up on our boss. But it was all going to be okay, because we were getting French bread.
As my high began to peak, I stepped gingerly around the displayed items of fatty breads stuffed with sugary vice, hoping to convey an aura of expertise with my body language. Hmmmmmm. At this point I squinted and bent down in order to bring some rolls to eye level. My eyes poured over every detail like a crime scene and I inspected each and every one. A chocolate chip croissant, an earl grey cream-filled bun, and a caramel glazed sugar bunt cake. As I strolled up to the register in my most elegant manner, I briefly toyed with the fantasy of speaking to her in French.
Excusez-moi…Combien ça coûte?
(Excuse me, how much is this?)
Maybe, I’d get a little fancy and try to embarrass the cashier, pretending to be appalled at her lack of French ability.
“You don’t speak French!? This is an outrage!” I’d stammer.
Suddenly the chefs and their assistants would come careening out from the double kitchen doors, hoping to get a glimpse of this REAL French man—after all, if you’re white in Japan, everyone simple assumes you speak English. Well not me sister. I speak French. After making a grand ruckus and attracting the attention of the common folk, some poor Japanese professor in passing would run to my aid in an attempt to translate for the rest of the shop—which at that point, would be completely fixated on me.
“Teach us your authentic French ways of dough and sugar; help us to bring forth the promise of TRUE French dessert to our people” they’d cry with newly formed tears at their cheeks.
And so, with liberation in my mind and fiery compassion in my heart, I, the American pretending to be French, would have taught them the most ridiculous recipes I could possible conjure.
At this point, it was the guilty nature of our conversation that woke me from the fantasy. Though I had no remorse, my friend expressed some reservations about both of us leaving at the same time (our company only employs two foreign teachers, and therefore, because we are both leaving at the same time, she will be forced to bet her entire student income on teachers who have no experience with her way of doing business).
“Yea… I mean I feel bad for her. It’s a great school. I love the students and if she would just listen to our suggestions, the company would be one-hundred-times better than it is now”, he said with a dejected tone.
I tried not to notice or even mention how the mental stress of the job had begun to affect his physical health. Overweight, overworked, and unmotivated, he had succumbed to a nightly routine of stuffing his face with anything that might make him feel better. I didn’t have to say anything; he knew it, and I knew it. But, I said it anyway….
“You need to take better care of yourself dude…look at what this job has done to you in the past year. I think you’re making the best decision for you and your health and I’m really proud of you for having the strength to stand up for yourself.”
He nodded without looking at me. “Yea I know you’re right…”
“Look, I have just as much a capacity to understand your sympathy for her, but honestly speaking, I have absolutely no sympathy for people who refuse to listen—to even CONSIDER the possibility that they don’t know the right answers all the time. Bottom line: she had plenty of chances to make changes and take our input into consideration, but she didn’t. Oh well…”
And that’s exactly the way it is really. I used to be a very uncompromising person when I was younger, as I took the idea of considering I was wrong as an insult to my basic principals. But by the time I graduated college I realized that there was great hope and promise in being wrong—it meant that there was more than one way to win, and that what may have seemed like certain doom, could actually be circumvented. After fully intergrating this concept into my life, I found myself actually being thankful for my misperceptions. The other added benefit in adopting the idea that others can see things that you can’t is that you can improve yourself.
I recently wrote, directed, and filmed a short story of mine with the help of my girlfriend. Now, the thing about it was, the true meat of the story was completely reliant on a series of monologues by the main character. Yet, while writing the monologues, I had become disillusioned with the direction and method I had taken; it just wasn’t right. The tone was there, the ideas were there, but the feeling and the effect I was trying to create wasn’t coming through in the words. Distraught, I continued to put off completing them until a friend back in America asked me to send her what I had written so far. Her reaction was less than welcoming, and frankly, I wanted to choke her.
“Hmmm…..it’s okay, but no one talks like that…I don’t think the audience can connect with this at all…” she said.
“Why would the main character even say this? Why would he even be thinking this? It doesn’t make sense…” she added.
I was two seconds from telling her to go take a hike off a cliff and keep her mouth closed when I finally realized: she was absolutely right. Instead of rejected her comments in an attempt to save my ego, I embraced them and found new motivation in the critique as my revisions began to create the effect I wanted. I continued to work with her and fed her my re-writes until the monologue was finished, and in the end, it came out 100X better than what I had original settled on.
This lesson was so important, I put it into words:
The uncompromising man is easy to admire because it seems as though he always gets what he wants; he’s always winning and never having to settle. A man unwilling to compromise gets what he wants because he accepts nothing less. However, it’s often overlooked, the many more victories he might have gleaned had he bent just that much more for others and the world.