I've Always Been This Awkward - Twenty

Yeah, so tired. So old. So weak. So fake. I believe it's the fakery of it all that "bottlenecks my bandwidth." Believe me, I appreciate in-groups and in-grouping; I've made a career out of that. But, in most contexts, narrow in-grouping and pretension only makes one appear plastic and shallow. "That said," the last thing you want to be perceived as in business, politics, or any social situation, is being a phony. Worse even, is when spurious behavior paints you as a lightweight. Nobody likes a lightweight phony.

I attended a board meeting a couple of days ago. I just completed two years on this particular board and was voted in for two more. I enjoy serving with these very smart, dedicated, and good people. I've been a board officer. I'm lucky. But we had to sit through a presentation that almost killed me. We had a planning and development consultant visit us to attempt to convince us to award her some consulting work. Fine. I can't hate on business. Her number one "action item" was helping us find "solutions."

Our prospective consultant was a young woman with her own business. MBA. Smart. Ambitious. Successful. I appreciate what she's done for herself. I admire all of that. Really. But, she chose to speak in that business speak I call NuBiz. You know what I mean: MBA drive meets corporate lethargy. She said a couple of things that wound up "on my radar screen": "Like icing over mud," and "my process is my process." I wrote both in my notebook (I really didn't have a radar, silly). I get it though; we use metaphor and sometimes simile to illustrate points. But can't we just make a point without resorting to intellectual or lingo-istic shortcutting, anymore? In fact, the utilization of most lingo, shortcut, or other conformity language device is nothing more than a simple cop-out. It is, in fact, "like icing over mud." It's intellectually lazy. [Which is why I will always idolize my corporate mentor, Joe. That guy was fucking real. One of the smartest people I've ever met. Guess what? They drummed his ass out of the business suite, but he was the eventual "champion" in the end. Lesson learned.]

And, if you don't have an answer to challenging questions, "my process is my process" falls wildly short of a meaningful answer unless you're Steve Jobs or Vladimir Putin or Nancy Pelosi. There are very few people in the business or political world who wield that sort of hubris. Try, "I don't know." Not to throw this young woman "under the bus," but it was a little difficult to focus on the substance of her proposals because of her NuBiz. I wanted to like her "synergy" more. Humility makes a refreshing substitution for hubris.

To "unpack" this just a little more, I guess I could either "take the 30,000 foot view" and let it go, or I can "synergize" this information and "leverage the low hanging fruit" and bitch a little longer. Because "at the end of the day," I'd like to ship this whole NuBiz garbage to a retirement ranch—no stud service, just a place to die, nags. There's your "seamless integration," "thought leader."

I mean, fuck, what has happened to us? We're mopes all over, myself included. Sure life is awkward but it's not that difficult in America. Sure we're all more hyper-aware than we'd like to be. But, damn if we can no longer just be. I'm kinda tired of how inauthentic everything's become. It's a little depressing. Everyone has to fit into some sort of category: Casual Friday, MILF, Hipster, Redneck, Soccer Mom, Hobo, Kook. As a father I have a challenge ahead of me. But you know what, we're still in control.

Looking backwards, I suppose the unintended thesis of IABTA is that if we take a fairly good look at ourselves we can maybe become ourselves. I feel as if people don't look to themselves first. They look externally and pick and choose whom they believe they should be based on what they believe to be "cool" or "important" or "acceptable" or what just fits the script they've concocted. Problem is, we've all become pretty much the same thing: victims. All of us. Victims of our wealth, victims of our TeeVees, victims of homogeneity. We are Mope Squad America!

Even though I'm considered to be a negative, ornery, overly analytical, quirky, OCD contrarian to some, I'm pretty happy who I am. I own my foibles. I celebrate my idiosyncrasies. I'll never be perfect. I'll never make anyone happy, including myself. But I'll always work hard to be candid…with myself first and foremost. I may not be that smart. I may not be that correct. But, I'm me. Me, because my life is mine.

Narcissistic? Nope. I neither have an inflated sense of my own importance nor do I obsess with my self-image or ego. In the scope of all things, I'm nothing (and neither are you). My most important artistic goal is not to inflate myself but to leave a little bit of myself behind. To leave a breadcrumb trail of my thoughts, interactions, perceptions, weird obsessions, pain, joy, and a look at the stuff I see between the cracks. I do this for me and for others. That, my friends, is what I do. It's all I know. And sometimes I hold up a big ass mirror to myself and to you. Shit, at least I have opinions. I am as astonished at how many how many people that don't have opinions as I am at how many people have opinions based on incorrect data or the absence of any sort of reference. I don't care if we disagree, but we should all have something more than anecdote or conjecture to back up an argument. Please.

Like Roast Beef Kazenzakis printed, "It's not like I need to know if you care." [Achewood, a weird obsession of mine] Am I being a dick by saying this? I don't think so. I think more people need to have this attitude. Once we stop needing to know what people think of our products, or us, we can be a little freer to be a little more genuine. No, I'm not advocating any sort of Free Society without rules or boundaries. That would just be retarded. But, just ponder alternatives.

I can't make everyone be themselves. But I guess I have to stop lamenting that people are just more comfortable being goddamn weak ass phony-baloney mopes. I should just let it go. But I don't think I can.

I expect more of you and of me.

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I've Always Been This Awkward