Thursday, September 3, 2015

Stories, Don't Be Common

One can find inspiration from anybody, anytime and sometimes it happens all of a sudden and by surprise.

Henry Rollins wrote in one of his books that he will go a long way to hear a good story, and I am the same way.

Just the other day, I was talking to a friend of mine, a pretty well known surgeon at one of the best hospitals in the world. I walked into the room and he was talking about Randy White.

Yes, my idol growing up was a friend and lifting partner of the good doctor. And he had stories of Randy's farm and his brother and man, it was great.

He told about Randy bench pressing one time and getting stuck with over 400 pounds and rolling the bar down his stomach onto the floor. Stories of Randy fighting and his girlfriend and some great stuff.

Stories rule the world, and Harry Crew is one of the best story tellers ever.

How does one measure coolness? Where I grew up in Maryland it was a big deal not to be common. Common is somebody that does things to others that just simply aren't cool.

Common-showing a lack of taste and refinement; vulgar.
synonyms: uncouth, vulgar, coarse, rough, boorish, unladylike, ungentlemanly, ill-bred, uncivilized, unrefined, unsophisticated;

Like saying that you are gonna be somewhere and not showing up because you decided to go see your girlfriend instead and not letting your friend know. That is common. Or not getting your Mother a card on Mother's Day. Or taking a handicapped spot.  Or , like what just happened to a friend of mine: His ex wife called him to tell him about a guy she was dating. Common as hell.

I think that I first heard the term when I was down at the creek behind my house with my sister's boyfriend and a friend of his.  I was in the third grade. They were in the sixth grade. The boyfriend was smoking Marlboro Lights. The white pack. Want one? Sure. Okay, don't get your spit all over it, okay? Gotcha, I answer, and I take a big old drag. Hand it back. MAN! You got it all wet. That is COMMON man! Yeah, I guess so. Third grade.

Not being common is being true to your word, sticking up for family and friends, never talking junk to your friends, giving people their space, not taking advantage of kindness, giving a killer spot when lifting, being on time, not drinking the last beer, showing up when you say you are gonna show up, not taking the last slice of pizza, leaving 20% (at least) on a tip ( you will when you have been a waiter/waitress/busboy) etc...

One time when I was a graduate assistant coach, the other graduate assistants and I were charged with replacing the turf on the game field. It was summer, and it was hot, but we loved the work. We would get out there, I think that there were 3 of us, and one would run the sod cutter and and then we would all shovel up the turf, put it in a four wheeler and dump it in the woods. A few weeks of work at least. What's common about that story? Well, we were working 60 plus hours a week, getting paid for 19 hours, and nobody ever complained. Made 4.75 an hour. Yep, our choice to be there. The common part is that not one, no, not ONE full time coach came out to help and in addition, they would go to lunch and SNEAK out the back door instead of offering us the chance to go with them. That, my friends, is common. Stuff like that makes me wanna throttle some folks. WHY CAN"T YOU JUST BE COOL??? People like that are everywhere.

OOOH! I know! How about when you train somebody for free forever and your birthday comes and goes and Christmas comes and goes and never a card, or a bottle of beer or a card or nothin. Never mind the holidays, how about never a thank you? Common. Or not realizing when somebody is hurting bad and being there for them and just thinking of yourself.

Beyond common would be police officers getting shot and the President not going to any funerals. Yup. Ya know, when you are sitting around with friends and a name comes up, and you say about the person, what a jerk, why is he like that, what's his problem? Ah, dude, he's just common. And everyone shakes their head like, damn right, that is the answer. Like he can not help it, he does not get it, just a common dude.

So the moral? Listen to great stories, go far for a good story and never, ever, ever, be common.

All About Being a Lifer

What's a Lifer? Someone who isn't in to something for just a day, a month, a's for life. Whether its training or your family or your doesn't matter. You work at it, you build on it, you see the big picture . You don't miss workouts because it means something to you. You are like a Shakespearean actor- no matter what is going on in your life, you block it out when it's time to train. You walk into the weight room and all else disappears. Worry about it later.