Saturday, April 22, 2017

@RealEarthquake Had His Hands Full in Memphis

Comedian got more than he bargained for at a Memphis comedy club.
Okay, so last night, I'm at the Chuckle House Comedy Club in Cordova, TN.  It's a nice community just east of Memphis.  I've been there before and enjoyed myself immensely, so I took the time to return and see one of my favorite comedians, Earthquake.  It was my first time seeing him in person, so I was excited, but I had no idea that he wasn't the only "performance" I'd witness that night.

The crowd in that club was drunk beyond control!  My first (and probably last) time attending this place on a Friday night.

EQ is a vet, so he handled them like a pro, but I could tell that his patience was tested as he performed.  Let me lay out some things that happened:

Drunk white lady

You can barely see her on the left in the photo.  She was the catalyst to all of the heckling.  EQ interacts with the crowd during his set.  He'll speak to you or give you some dap just to show love to the audience.  Drunk white lady (and her race has something to do with the story) made a pass at EQ.  He essentially responded that although he could care less about people dating interracially, he prefers black women and had no interest in her.  DWL was offended by this.

Eventually, she stood up in front of the stage and started talking to her friend.  Her friend, who is black and had a big forehead (that's relevant, too), was trying to calm her down.  DWL drew the attention of EQ (because she's standing directly in front of him while he's performing) and he went in on her.  Big time!  Insult after insult.  Referring to her as "Becky" for the duration of the verbal assault.  This infuriated "Becky" who then slumped in her chair, arms folded, staring into space.

Black friend-girl with big forehead

The crowd is erupting in laughter as Earthquake is going in on "Becky".  Black friend girl with the big forehead (far right of photo) starts talking to EQ.  She decides that she wants to speak up for her friend and asked EQ for the microphone.  Seriously, BFGBF?  A comedian is going to give you the mic in the middle of a performance?  EQ starts to go in on her and how her eyebrows and hairline are in a civil war and that's why they are so far apart from one another.  Crowd goes wild with laughter again as he starts to go in on BFGBF.  However, during all of the laughing, there is this guy who starts barking.  Not like the old Arsenio Hall "woof, woof, woof", but a deep, hound dog kind of barking.

Que Dog

This guy is well-dressed and sitting directly in front of me.  That's his hat in the photo above.  For those who aren't aware of Que Dogs, they are members of a fraternity found mostly at black colleges/universities.  Omega Psi Phi has many popular members from Shaquille O'Neal to Michael Jordan.  Evidently, this guy, who was drunk, thought EQ would respond to his barks, which is something a lot of Que Dogs acknowledge with a return bark when they hear it.

Well, either EQ isn't a Que Dog or chose not to acknowledge it, because he ignored the barking the first few times it happened.  But, this guy wouldn't stop.  He was barking intermittently just like a hateful dog in your neighborhood who doesn't want you to get any sleep at night.  Every six seconds or so, this dude would bark.  It was the most annoying thing I've ever dealt with in public.  For the last 30 minutes of the show, this guy barked at random.  Even stood up at his table and asked EQ what he wanted to drink and the he would pay for it.


After awhile, EQ asked, "what is going on in Memphis, TN?"  He had a drunk white lady, big forehead black friend girl, a dog, a drunk dude with jheri curl in an Adidas track suit that I didn't mention, and a jealous boyfriend who wouldn't let EQ shake his girlfriend's hand, and a black lady who sat behind me who spewed racist hate at "Becky" all evening.  All of this in less than an hour.

Now, don't get me wrong.  It was an enjoyable show, but I truly wish that I could have heard all of it.  I don't think that EQ even got to do the last 15 minutes of his set because of the rowdiness of the crowd.  Even the bouncer had to get involved and threatened to throw people out.

I know that this blog post comes off erratic and random, and I'm sorry for that, but this is a case where you truly had to be there.  It would probably take me an hour just to lay out and explain all that I saw and heard last night.  EQ did his thing and handled the crowd masterfully and still made the night funny.  But, after this weekend, I don't think that he will ever come back to this venue in Memphis because he had his hands full.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Learn The Difference Between "Respectful" and "Fake"

In 2017, being respectful is going the way of the dinosaur.  People have no chill these days.  No respect for the elderly.  No respect for women and children.  No respect for themselves.  The way that we talk to people has to change.

At one time in society, people used to be aware of their audience before they spoke.  They chose their words wisely because they cared about their reputation and they didn't want to offend certain groups.  Men would not curse if women or kids around.  Now women curse just as much as men do now.  Kids do a healthy share of cursing, too.

I discussed that recently to someone (not a Millenial) who responded to me by saying "people who hold their tongues are 'fake'".

Yes, that's right.  People who choose their words around others are "fake" in her eyes.  She explained how everyone in her family curses freely around one another.  It doesn't matter the age, if you are in the room, then you may hear a curse word.  Just deal with it.  Not speaking freely is being fake?  That was the craziest thing I'd ever heard.  Why is showing restraint a bad thing?

Don't get me wrong.  What a person does in their home is their business.  But, some people do it no matter where they are.  At the grocery store, at restaurants, in other people's homes.

There's a time and a place for everything.  You don't drop f-bombs in your boss's office.  Why?
Because it's considered as being disrespectful in the workplace.  No one unleashes curse words when speaking to the preacher at church.  Why?  Because it's a sign of disrespect.  Or in her eyes, it's being fake, I guess.

So, why do people look at you sideways when you ask them not to curse in public?  Is it that hard not to curse?

We keep making excuses for doing what we want to do.  At some point in society, there will be no rules or standards.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Why Was "Hidden Figures" Not in My History Books?

I finally took the opportunity to watch the movie "Hidden Figures".  It's a movie, based on a true story, that follows the lives of three women, who lived in Virginia, who were key components in the success of the NASA space program in the 60's.  Not only was working in prominent roles at NASA a rarity for women, these women were also black, which makes it even more of a phenomenon for the early 60's.  As I watched this movie, my heart swelled with pride to see these black women blaze the trail for many others to come.

Well, maybe they blazed a trail locally.  Because I don't recall ever hearing these ladies mentioned in my history books.  12 years of school and NASA's space program didn't mention one woman until Sally Ride.  Where were the names of Katherine G. Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan, and Mary Jackson?  These women were part of the reason we ever got an American into space at all and they can't get any love in history books?

What would it have meant to thousands of young, black kids, especially girls, across the country to know the accomplishments of these three ladies?  Let me retract that.  There were actually as many as 30 black women who worked for NASA during the first orbit around Earth.  They were referred to as "computers" because of the type of work that they did.  Either the state of Virginia has a surplus of super-intelligent black women or the school system has done us a disservice of informing us of minority accomplishments.  I'll go with the latter.

This movie showed how black people were able to overcome the mistreatment that they received while still outperforming their white counterparts.  Something that a lot of us still deal with today.  We've all heard the phrase, "you have to work twice as hard to get half of what they got."  This movie is a prime example of that.

I would encourage anyone to watch this movie.  It doesn't matter your race or gender.  It's something that everyone can get something out of.  What these ladies did should have been celebrated since the launch and should be a part of American History and not just NASA's history.  Yet it took 44 years of my life to even hear about this story.

And it makes me wonder how many Native Americans, Asians, Latinos, etc. have been left out of the history books, too.  I guess we'll never truly know, but thanks to director, Theodore Melfi, for telling this story.  It's a shame that only one of the three ladies involved was actually alive to see it.

Katherine G. Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan, and Mary Jackson.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

To Be or Not To Be (A Parent)?

Before I got married in 2002, I wanted to be a dad.  My wife and I agreed that we would enjoy the first two or three years of our marriage and then work on starting our family.  I would have been around 32 or 33 at the time we started.

However, life happened.  A year and two months after our wedding, she was diagnosed with breast cancer.  Our lives were never the same after that.  She had surgery almost immediately and started chemotherapy to try and eradicate the breast cancer cells.  As long as she was on chemo, having children was never an option.

By the time I reached 38 years old and my wife and I both realized that chemotherapy may end up being something she'd have to endure for the rest of her life, my desire for children faded.  I was no longer concerned of being a dad for two reasons: 1) I only wanted my wife to get healthy and 2) I didn't have a desire to be an old dad.  So, I made up my mind that I would be the best godfather to my god kids that I could and no longer worry about being a father.

My wife would remain on chemotherapy for nine years in total up until the day she passed away on November 5th, 2012 at 2 AM.

I was a week way from my 41st birthday and without a wife and a child.  All I ever wanted was the happy ever after ending so many people in the world had.  I wanted my wife, a son, and a daughter.  It didn't seem like too much to ask for, but like I said earlier, "life happened".

My desire to be a parental figure didn't necessarily go away, but my desire to be a father to a newborn did.  So, once I decided to start dating again, I didn't mind dating someone who had children.  However, I never thought that I'd wind up dating someone who had four of them.  Four girls to be exact between the ages of 12 and 19.  Although their mom and I just weren't right for one another, I absolutely enjoyed my time with those kids and still miss spending time with them to this day.  They were wonderful girls who brought a lot of joy to my life!

Then I dated someone who didn't have any kids and she was much younger than me.  Almost 10 years younger, to be exact.  The two of us got along very well, but there was a miscommunication on my part regarding having children.  I was under the impression that she was absolutely set on having them even though I stated at the onset of the relationship that I did not want them.  So, we decided to go our separate ways, which was a shame because I really liked her and we seemed to get along quite nicely.

Not too long after that, an associate of mine from Arkansas became a father.  He was 44 years old at the time when his little man was born.  The look on his face in his Facebook photos showed a happiness that I envied.  Don't get me wrong.  I was extremely happy for him because he expressed so much excitement during his wife's pregnancy.  However, I felt bad for myself for never having that feeling of joy that he was having.

I talked to my brother who is almost six years older than me and doesn't have children.  I asked him what his opinion was on being an older dad.  He told me that even at age 50, if he could be a father, he would do it in a heartbeat.  So, what was stopping me if other guys my age and older were okay with being an older dad?

It made me think.  Was I not wanting to be a dad for the wrong reasons?  Was it a fear of maybe not living long enough to see my child reach his/her 40's like my parents saw my brother and I do?  Was it a fear of not having the "village" in place to help raise the child because so many responsible members of my family were possibly too old to contribute?  What was I afraid of?

Pretty much all of the above.  And after I truly thought about it and realize just how crazy my excuses were for not being a dad, my fear just disappeared and my desire to be a father started to return.  I started wanting an heir to share my dad's funny family stories with so that these stories could continue to live.  I wanted a little one to take to the store to buy comic books just like my mom and dad took me.  I wanted to give someone the life that I had, to the best of my ability.  I felt like I was denying myself a possible chance at a legacy.

And it's that desire that has hit the pause button on my dating with a purpose.  If I want to be a father some day, then that means that I have to date someone who is able/wants to have children.  That means that my dating pool may filter out most people who are my age who may be done having kids or feel as if they've reached an age that it's not safe for them to do so.  I can't move forward until I can decide what it is that I want.

All I can do is continue to pray on it.  Lord knows that I'm not getting any younger.

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Age Ain't Nothin' But A Number?

I've heard people say that "age ain't nothin' but a number" before.  However, it's usually a young person saying it.  I've never ever really used the phrase before, but it's definitely not crossed my mind since age 30.

However, at 45 years old, I find myself being approached by younger women (for dates) from time-to-time and it feels awkward to me.  I have peers who would jump at the chance to get with a 20-something who's sniffing around, but I'm not just on that young tip.

Over the past few months, I've had women ages 26-29 approach me for some form of relationship and I will admit that I've been surprised by something:  Some of those younger women appear to be more mature than the women in my preferred dating range (late 30's - mid 40's).

I brought it up to some of my homies and one of them had a theory.  He said, "Younger women don't have as much baggage as older women.  Therefore, they still have hope that they can find a man who simply wants to do the right thing."

I started to wonder if he was onto something.  Was "having hope" the key to all of this?  Did these young ladies believe deep down inside that I would treat them right simply because they haven't given up on love yet like some older women have?

Just how important is "hope" when it comes to dating?

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