Pops conceived a play about Mahalia Jackson. I wrote it and directed it. My wife made the songs sound good. The cast of the show made us all look good.
This is what it is and not what it might be.
I,too, feel as though there are not only niggas that owe me checks, but also butt niggas who do not know the stress.
On the upside, I don’t feel as though there are still bitches that owe me sex, so that’s something, right?
Now they call me The Buzz. I would attempt to get self-righteous, but that doesn’t pay nearly as well as twittering and writing clever headlines. Speaking of which, here’s all the updated info you’ll need to get right with the work I’m doing.
Facebook nom de guerre: Root Buzzworthy
I hope to have a longer form piece posted soon. The motivation comes and goes. Such is life I guess.
I despise the word “blog.”
Ever since it came across my ears, I can’t help but cringe at its utterance. I wish I could say there was some intellectual objection to it; that it somehow signified the undermining of my classical approach to writing. But that’s not true. I just flat out don’t like how the word sounds when spoken aloud. Blog. Just say it out loud. Blog. Something about the blo-sound, so akin to blahhhh, makes me think the word is slang for some adverse bodily reaction rather than a way of documenting and reaching people in the digital age. “Dude, the next thing I knew, I was blogging all over the table.” If that doesn’t sound like some intestinal convulsion or other, I don’t know what does.
Any time anyone asked me what I did, while dancing around the question because I wasn’t sure how to answer it, I would say, among other things, that I write. I never called myself a writer because I found that to be an affront to the people I consider writers. I gave people the long-hand explanation of the many different writing projects I was engaged in at any given time, always making sure I explained that I wrote in on online public journal that I updated frequently to semi-frequently depended on the motivation.
“So you blog.”
NO. No, I did not blog. Blogging was for lames with nothing better to do than spectate from the sidelines. I wrote in an online journal that I updated semi-regularly depending on motivation and the amount of worthwhile cultural observations, dammit!
So, on it went. I wrote in an online journal and elsewhere semi-regularly, all the while searching for the niche that would allow me to survive in the world as well as fulfill me. Very soon, I came to grips with the fact that, in terms of activities, I only liked doing things that revolved around the creative process, particularly writing. I’d say this was a revelation, but I’ve long known I’m only capable of doing things I can personally invest in and if rejections from a bowling alley, a Foot Locker and American Eagle were any indication, the universe was not going to allow me to skate on this point.
Still, I tried.
I wanted nothing more than to realize I don’t really like writing all that much and be done with it. Having grown up in the business of the arts, I’ve seen first hand just how much certainty those who prefer the creative have. Friend and family alike tried to push me toward writing. They thought I had the voice and the talent and should try like hell to make a living doing the thing that I appeared to have a certain facility with. I always managed to squirm my way out of such conversations. I don’t care to have anyone try to push me toward anything, particularly not something I cared so much about, if that makes any sense. Besides, I wrote for the love of the game; I wrote because I really just liked to have conversations about various things. Sure it was money-free, but it was also pressure-free. If I suddenly decided to throw my hat into the writing ring for real, that would be changed. And what if it didn’t work out? What if I found out I didn’t have the goods to hang? That would be heartbreaking. And besides, I wasn’t a writer anyway.
So other avenues were sought until I finally struck gold. I found the possibility of a stable gig that wouldn’t break my heart. Teaching. A buddy was starting a charter school and thought it’d be a great idea for me to come check the place out and submit an application. So I put on my tie and hard bottoms and went to the school. And it was great. The work was structured and inspired; the mission was to help a community that needed to know what it was like to not be left behind. Walking along with my buddy, I couldn’t help but be impressed.
When we got back to the office, we sat down and had a friendly conversation discussing what I’d seen and at one point, my friend asked if I had any questions. I had only one: Would my writing be a problem?
Her answer was simple: It wouldn’t be a problem, I just should keep it to myself, not post it online for the world to see. “There’s a point where we all have to grow up and be mindful of our privacy, you know?”
I sat in silence. Slowly I began trying to explain that I didn’t make my writing public to be sensational; I did it because I had something to say and enjoyed sharing my musings with people. Writing allowed me to be close to people. Not sharing my work, considering the many things I keep to myself and struggle with alone, would be to live a double life, to live a lie. I’d lived enough lies. Even as I spoke the words, I was surprised by their passion. I felt a hint of indignation, as if my friend had demanded I make a choice on the spot. “Well that’s something for you to think about. Maybe you’re not cut out for mainstream work.”
My heart sank at that moment. I knew, for the time being, my foray into teaching, or at least entertaining the idea of it, was over. The journal entries and musicals and screenplays had won the battle.
So I came home hurt and looked up the word “blog.” Apparently, it was short for ‘web log.’ I guess that’s not so bad.
Yesterday, I woke up around 8am, put on my black and yellow sneakers, black shorts, two black long-sleeved shirts and Yale track and field Boathouse and went to the bus stop to wait for the 8:50 bus–number 79–to take me to Bally Total Fitness, arriving approximately at 9:01. Glad to be out of the rain and having deposited my change upon boarding, I sat down in one of the first four rows of seats, feeling oddly out of place among the morning shifters and bummish derelicts that tend to frequent the number 79 at that time of morning. Being dressed for the gym and then getting on a bus not driven by Skip and not headed to or from Payne Whitney has a tendency to make me feel oddish. Perhaps I merely yearned for the halcyon days of yore, but it’s more likely that getting eyeballed by bummish derelicts had an adverse effect on me. I’d probably have felt entirely out of place had I not been a morning shifter in disguise.
The bus having made its stop for a lady who works at Papa Gino’s, it was my turn to disembark. Having made sure I didn’t leave anything behind on the seat, I thanked the bus driver and stepped off the bus. Though it was on its way to being a warm day, I knew the two black long-sleeved shirts would come in handy as I made my way through the double doors of Bally’s. Melody, the good-natured blonde who does works there on the side while pursuing her music career–a Berklee grad no less–smiles and waves as I make it through the inner door. I do the same. Passing a few elliptical machines, a take a left into the office I share with two other co-workers. It being 9am, I’m the first one in, so I put my bag down and head down to the personal trainer’s office where I collect four jump ropes of various weights. Having begun to work out seriously in the last two months, jumping rope has not only become an exercise I enjoy mastering, but also a good way to do cardio when I don’t ahve an iPod, which is always.
Having collected the ropes, I go into the PT section, where Colin, a Nigerian and Caucus mash-up, a trainer and collegiate high hurdler, begins the morning with the standard heckle for using the black speed rope which, of the ropes, is by far the lightest. Kerry, the fitness director–a jolly Black giant of sorts–joins in while he stretches out a client. I reply that the other ropes burn my forearms something terrible and they reply with something in the neighborhood of “get the sand out of your vag.” Sufficiently heckled, I begin my rope workout. Two feet, one foot, switching feet, double jump. I don’t break an honest sweat for ten minutes, but after that point I’ve got a decent lather going. At the thirty minute mark, I put the ropes away and finish my workout, which is a full body circuit. Having stressed out my body, I hit the showers and unsuccessfully try to ignore the ball smell, old man ball sightings and the old man conversation–often had while their balls are out.
Finally dressed in my red t-shirt, too-short black Champion swishies and the same black and yellow sneakers I sat at the bus stop in, I exit the locker room and punch in at the front desk. By this time, Justine, an affable Puerto Rican lass of 23, is at the desk and we shoot the breeze a bit. Breeze satisfactorially shot, I head to my office and open my file cabinet drawer–third from the top–and take out my nametag. Clipping it on the upper left part of my red t-shirt, I remove a file from the cabinet and sit down and checked my appointments for the day. Having none till the afternoon, I go to our phone list and began making calls, urging people to come in and check the gym out. I also manage to call Kim and see how her red shirtedness goes across town. That being done, I sit and work out prices and different pricing scenarios until I’m called to the front desk by my manager Darren, an energetic jock-like white boy, not unlike many of my former Eli goonies. At the desk I got some tip or other about membership sales and then, for clarification, I asked some questions back.
The story really gets started in the afternoon. I spent some time at the front desk, where I answer phones and swipe cards. Once Teresa, my sassy assistant manager, comes to relieve me from this, I get the black heckle rope and do some jumping. Though I jump during the dead part of the afternoon, I returned to the front desk area to find people waiting to be toured around the club. Quickly changing back into my red t-shirt, I go into my office with various characters and ask them some preliminary question concerning their lives and fitness goals. After that, I toured them around the club–spin bikes, free weights, pool–and get to know a little about them. Arriving back in my office, I threw out a few numbers to see what would stick. Three of the people didn’t have the money but would “be back”; the other group knew exactly what they wanted because they had talked to someone else before meeting with me. Now here’s where it gets interesting.
Contract printed out, gone over and signed, I made this couples’ ID cards and got them set up for their first workout with Dana, one of our hulking and good-natured PTs. Shift over, I head to my office to collect my things and get called into my manager’s office. We sit down and discuss not letting people walk out without memberships no matter what. I explained that I did my best. Now here’s the kicker: He says OK, just work on refining your technique.
That being over with, I collected my things, punched out and sat and waited for Kim to come pick me up, feeling out of place in my Yale track and field Boathouse as I watched varying degrees humanity stream out of the club and towards their cars. Upon Kim’s arrival, we went to my house and sat in my parents’ living room until she had to leave at 1am (house rules).
Multiply by five, accounting for changes in weather patterns, and that is my life, ending one day at a time. Peace to Second.
Penultimate Thought: If you’re a member at a gym and remain fat, you should probably ask for fitness advice.
Final Thought: Or stop wasting money on the gym altogether.