I’m sure you’ve heard it a million times. “Mondays suck!” But for two very big reasons, I respectfully disagree. New beginnings are spectacular. Holidays, anyone? I know a lot of people who get freaked out by new beginnings: the guy who started college just to drop out because it was overwhelming, the girl who stayed … Continue reading I Love Mondays
I remember I was in a room with close to 25 other youngsters aged 7-12, all wearing shorts because it was hot out. We were in a church recreation room in West Philadelphia with two older ladies who were obviously in charge. I was 10 at the time and out of school for the summer – we all were – so I could have been anywhere doing anything, but my mom had heard about this program to help kids do outreach for the church as well as assist in paying tuition to a rather expensive private school that we attended. And I was scared.
You see, back then I was nervous about pretty much everything, the shy kid in the back who doesn’t say “boo” and hopes to keep blending in so people don’t make fun of him. That was me. And I saw pretty early on that the “outreach” we were expected to do meant going out in a public place, talking to absolute strangers, and getting them to sign up for a subscription to a Christian magazine (or several). You can understand why that properly freaked me out.
Now, the ladies seemed nice enough. They were going to split us up every day and head to two different parts of the city where we would canvas people all day long, while carrying around satchel full of magazines that they could purchase for $2 or $5 dollars apiece, and subscriptions that cost considerably more in the short term but “paid for themselves” in the long term (i.e. eternal salvation). They were magazines with one name monikers like Insight, Messenger, Listen, and Outlook. I personally didn’t think people were allowed to solicit in some of the places we did, but the ladies apparently either didn’t care or thought God would take care of it.
We went places like 8th and Market Streets outside of the subway stop, to catch all the people who were going into the Gallery to shop, or outdoors in the marketplace two blocks from our church in North Philly. But the prime two places were the 30th Street Train Station and the outside doors of Strawbridge & Clothier downtown. On occasion several of the employees of Strawbridge’s would tell us we couldn’t be there, but no one in a uniform came to force us out. So we kept going. Continue reading “I Did What?: My Sordid Job History, Volume 10”
It’s amazing that even though February is the shortest month of the year, March has flown by very quickly this year. With only a couple of days remaining in the month, though, it still doesn’t look like spring outside. As I look out of my window I see patches of snow on the lawn, but … Continue reading Six For Saturday
London street scene. 2008. Continue reading Street Life
His hands always drove her crazy. The way his palms slid smoothly across the inside of her arches sent shockwaves through her brain, every single time. The oils he massaged into the soles of her feet lulled her into a state not unlike sleep, where everything was balloons and cotton candy, a veritable smorgasbord of heavenly proportions. His ministrations tricked her mind into thinking only the two of them existed in the whole wide world, that none came before and none would come after. It was just them, in the moment, forever. Or at least until the half hour was up and she paid him the $50 bucks she owed.
Valerie almost never went into the mall by herself, preferring to do most of her shopping online, like most people her age. It took about two seconds for her to buy a few entire outfits, while still in her underwear, and all she had to do was use her credit card like it was going out of style. That turned out to be her problem, though, when every month the credit card bills would fall into her mailbox and put her into a mood. And of course when she was in a mood over money the only thing that could soothe her was another visit to Nails & More in the mall. It was the only reason she ever went.
Then there was Thad too, the man she was sort of seeing. He reminded Valerie of a hitchhiker who was always thumbing a ride to somewhere new because being stagnant was not in his vocabulary. It always surprised her that she could even call him her boyfriend, but he had allowed it just a few weeks before, and she even changed her Facebook status to mirror the sentiment. But she hardly ever actually saw him — he was always on the road with his band — which made it difficult to rely on Thad for support, moral or otherwise. And she needed him desperately right then.
It had hit her like a sack of potatoes when her boss called Valerie into the office to deliver the news, a surreal experience if there ever was one. Twenty minutes later she found herself wandering the small mall like one of those zombies she liked to watch so much on TV, aimless until she found the one place that felt to her like home. Continue reading “What She Needed”
Having confidence is easy. Just convince enough people of it, and you’re in. The old “fake it til you make it,” mentality that seems to work on so many people because they want to believe it. The key is to find out what others are looking for from a confident person and portray that. Now, some people aren’t good enough actors to pull this off, and those are the ones we label “anti-social,” or “followers,” which is okay. But many people exist who push that fear down deep enough to project confidence.
Want to know something funny? Usually pretending to be confident is adequate over the long run to actually make you confident. That works with anything, pretty much. Remember Eddie Murphy’s character in “Trading Places”? He was down on his luck and resorted to running scams to try and get cheap money while living on the streets. But then he was picked up out of the gutter and given his heart’s desire, and a sense of purpose. Suddenly he began acting like a more confident man to the extent that he shed the bonds of those men and made something of himself. By himself.
“Confidence is the first step. It doesn’t matter how you achieve it. What truly matters is that you get it in the first place.”
This happens often, from shy nerds who only have confidence in their computer abilities, to weightlifters whose confidence comes strictly from their physical strength, to stay-at-home mothers who are only confident in their homemaking skills. Yet, if these people are placed in other situations which require confidence of a different sort they can usually adjust and pull it off. How? Because confidence is the first step. It doesn’t matter how you achieve it. What truly matters is that you get it in the first place. Then use the power of transference and you’re set. Continue reading “Confidential”