What I've learned today:
If this little to-do list from my old work log and the accompanying post-it quote from a geologically-old estimator there isn't enough to make you run far, far away from the world of biz-caj, well then I don't know what is.
Everybody at the company treated him like he was senile; some even treated him like a burden. Yes, he didn't know how to use anything that required an electrical cord or buttons, nevermind a touch-screen. And he would mumble to himself. Quite a lot, in fact. But he was a humble, kind man who was prized by the owner beyond most of the other employees; he was, in fact, a damn good estimator.
This man had a wife and a family living far away. It was not clear whether they lived overseas by choice or if they could not afford to come to the States. Regardless, this man presumably lived alone, toiling day after day under unforgiving fluorescent tube lights amidst a group of unfriendly individuals who mocked his accent and refused to help him.
(Did you notice that one of my items on my to do list involved "hounding" people for information?)
Sometimes I come across this picture and feel tremendous sorrow. How many people in the world tell themselves exactly what the old man whispered to me at 7:30am one morning? I must have had a look of consternation upon my face, and he sought to give me his version of a pep talk: "It's alright, kid, it'll all be over eventually--really, it'll be like it never happened." Is that how we should live our lives, marching toward the grave with our heads down to lessen the blows of daily abuse?
Today, I invite you to pick your head up and grab life by the balls. Those blows will still come at you; but today, you aren't afraid of earning that badass facial scar. People are going to yell at you, mock you, spread lies about you and generally degrade you and your work. But you're not gonna give a rat's ass, because someone else out there is paying attention to what you have to offer, and they will be the ones to give credit where credit is due, to lift you up to join them in the ranks of the accomplished. Your work will leave a lasting effect on their lives. Because yes, we all die. And in those last days, maybe we realize the futility of the great majority of our efforts as we are fading out. Then again, maybe we will be tripping out in ultraviolet technicolor, reliving the ultimate personal highlight reel of the last 104 years, the kind of montage that would cause Instagram to shutter its doors in resignation. All those memories, all those colors, all those moments of passion, all going down on a one-man ship. But so #worthit.
The old man was right, we all die. But even if we forget our lives, we have gifts to give along the way, which become our legacies. There are memories to be made for when the final plunge of the roller coaster sends us into palliative popcorn mode. So pick your cast of characters well, find some good backdrops, and get busy livin'.
Life is but a stage, folks.
"Hot Cock Sauce"
That's how my friend from college used to refer to Sriracha sauce (I hear it also I goes by "hipster ketchup", but I prefer my friend's moniker). Anyway, 2017 is a great year for cocks because it's the Year of the Rooster, if you follow Chinese astrology. Hard work and diligence, fidelity and punctuality--these are all trademarks of those born in the year of the rooster, and they are great inspiration for all of us to lead more productive, fulfilling lives while gaining the respect of those around us. Did I mention confidence? It goes without saying that it takes some serious cojones to go screeching people awake at zero dark thirty, day in and day out.
The above picture is a painting by the illustrious Thomas Easley, who shares my affection for roosters. I am excited to say that at the end of this year I will have finished paying off my own Easley rooster--my first big investment in a work of art (his name's E=MC2 and he is "a total Baldwin", in the words of Cher Horowitz). Furthermore, my sister has recently adopted three beautiful chickens (Bernadette, Boz, and Beyonce), each with their own uniquely-colored eggs and vibrant personality quirks. I've been telling her they could use some male company, but I think she's right in letting them enjoy their innocence for the time being. I think the collective innocence of everyone around here could use a reset, to be honest (and by reset, I mean impeachment).
I'm prepping for a Chinese New Year party today, and I would like to wish everyone reading this a productive and fulfilling Lunar New Year. Stay confident in your work, wake up early, be on time, and don't be afraid to go full Foghorn Leglorn and make some noise when something's not right.
Side story: I once made a tropical curry for my roommates in college, and there was a bottle Hot Cock Sauce sitting on the table since we all liked varying levels of spiciness. One of my roommates, the one one with the mildest taste buds, laughed as he watched me dump the red sauce all over my dish, and then dared my to eat a soupspoon full of the stuff. I accepted, of course; before he could stop me, I was smoking out the ears and gargling coconut milk over the toilet. I couldn't even taste my dish--or anything, really--for the next three hours. I think the moral of the story here, or "what I've learned", is that, while it's okay to toot your own horn on occasion, it never pays when you get TOO cocky.
May wealth, health, and longevity be yours in the new lunar year...aka Live Long & Prosper!
"The Sun Will Come Out Tomorrow"
There's a little orphan named Annie who some would called annoyingly optimistic. I hope those aren't the same people with those "Wag More, Bark Less" stickers on their cars. I see a ton of frowning faces every day, and those are probably the same people whispering about who's been using Botox or who has it too easy. Guess what? Every single person on this planet has a private struggle, and it's not very productive to spend so much energy trying to fashion yourself a martyr. In fact, some of the most outwardly-cheerful people are fighting the most inner turmoil (RIP Robin Williams). Anyway, if you are frowning your whole life, of course you are going to get wrinkles, just as a lifelong runner is going to have chiseled calves. Let's make optimism great again. It rained for twelve gray days straight here in San Francisco, but the world didn't end. On the contrary, the drought has been seriously diminished, the ski slopes have been carpeted...and the sun came back out.
Keep looking over your shoulder as you run through the darkest night; eventually the sun will crest the horizon again--and lap your slow ass like the ultramarathon man at a high school country relay :)
WHAT'S ON TAP
1/7/17: LordRifa opens for PUDDLE OF MUDD @ Slims's
3/4/17: LordRifa acoustic set @CSU-EB Art Gallery, 3-6pm, Hayward
4/29/17: LordRifa ALBUM RELEASE PARTY @ Neck of the Woods TICKETS
9/16/17: @ Neck Of The Woods, Clement Street, SFCA. Doors 7:30pm TICKETS
10/28/17: LordRifa w/ Stäng + Sam Pace @ Bottom of the Hill TICKETS
is the amalgamation
of all that's left behind
the space where the shadow
once stood sentry, and
the diaspora of fragments
which together comprise
a soul too loud
for just one body
not crazy, just a little nuts
Let's get weird on facebook: