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Tuesday, January 20, 2015

"No Time" "Stop It" "Allow me to retort."

I like a challenge. When challenged I accept and compete. But not all challenges are worth fighting, winning and rebuffing. 
As well, I am really good at figuring things out.
But it took me a long time to figure out that arguing with people who have nothing better to do than argue with you to fulfill their empty lives does me no good. It took one last very painful--and in the end--costly exchange to put it all together.
I wrote the following witty and snarky status that I didn't end up posting just before I decided to write this blog about it. It is below.

To whom it doesn't concern:

I wish to thank you.
You told me what I really needed to hear.
It isn't what you thought you said, but it is still what I needed to hear.
And so, I will be the better for it.
And sadly, for you, you will think you said something you didn't, and you can't be helped.
At the end of the day, it was worth it. There was a purpose to the interaction. Even if it seemed pointless for a very long time to keep doing it.

I like to listen to music and glean knowledge from bits and pieces of lyrics. I think I have heard The Guess Who song NO TIME a thousand times, but the following passage never really registered with me until last night when I was drifting off to sleep.

(No time left for you)
On my way to better things
(No time left for you)
I'll found myself some wings
(No time left for you)
Distant roads are calling me
(No time left for you)

 It really rang true to me when I thought about it some more. I really don't have time for idiots, and I do have better things to do. I am on my way to that, even though I have let myself get derailed several times. Saturday night was one of those times. Now, I hope to be back track for those distant roads that are calling me. 

Now the story behind it all. 

I got a huge winfall betting on Thursday, but I did poorly on Friday and Saturday. Part of that was because I got involved in a long debate and thread on Friday morning about a topic I know a lot about but others didn't. I spent way too much time bantering with them, although it wasn't nasty or as coarse as what happened Saturday after the races turned out to be. But it was enough to waste my time and leave me very tired and unprepared to do well on Friday and Saturday. It cost me money. For sure. How much I don't know. I just know I wasted valuable time and wasn't prepared. That should have been a lesson there. But it wasn't. I needed one more slap in the face. 

I got it. 

Saturday night, after the races, my friend Garnet Barnsdale posted a flip status about Lebron James and the trade the Cleveland Cavaliers made to get Kevin Love......and we joked about it. Attached to the post, for which I was tagged, was an article that certainly supported our view that the Cavs got fleeced and made a horrible trade to try to win now (the present) while sacrificing their future. As it turns out,  it doesn't appear that they have much of a chance to win now, and their future looks very bleak. It was a terrible trade (the award winning writer of the article used the term "epic blunder" and quoted some of the greats who backed up his theory). I pointed all that out to the guy who insisted on arguing about it, to no avail. No matter what I said, he wasn't going to listen. I have come to find out he has something against the player the Cavs traded to Minnesota, Andrew Wiggins, and he was dead set against any facts presented otherwise. His team has been losing for a long time, and he is frustrated. I understand that. I was a Montreal Expos fan from the beginning and they were terrible for 10 years before they finally turned it around. I live in a town where the hometown heros, the Toronto Maple Leafs, are closing in on 50 years without a championship and many years when they were the worst team in the league, or close to it.
But, almost everyone who knows anything about sports, life and basketball sees that the trade the Cavs made was horrific. Everyone but that one guy. But that will be touched on in a bit.
In any event, it was meant to be a funny status and all in good fun.
But, it ended up on Garnet's page and long after he wasn't around, one of HIS friends started to get mad and take offense to the status. That would be okay enough, if I wasn't tired and had let my guard down. But I was and I did. Normally, I would just ignore the comment. Especially since I didn't know this person and have any reason to engage him.
So, he engaged me. In a less than pleasant way. I engaged him back,  and before you know it, we were bantering. Then arguing, and then fighting. Then I was name calling. I never name call. And I mean NEVER. It's childish and not something I do. But he got under my skin, because he was being so foolish, and relentless.... and I was tired. I had just finished an intense 3 days of betting which was preceded by 3 very intensive days of prep for that. I was wiped out. I should have gone to bed and been in bed sleeping. It was sleep and time that I needed to get back to my energy level going forward. But I wasn't. Instead I spent almost 2 hours debating and arguing with this person.

I worked my tail off to get a huge Pick 4 winfall at Woodbine last Thursday. And I got it. As I should have. I am smart, and I've developed a very good system to go along with everything else I do to make things like that happen at this point in my handicapping career. I wrote a blog about it all, if you wish to read that.

But, I have this burning desire to be right, and when challenged, to prove it. Even if it means I will hurt myself overall in the long run. Like wasting the time I need to get more Pick  4's.
It is a terrible character flaw I have.

So, while I am smart, I was not smart enough to avoid and walk away from this person. Which is what I should have been doing. There was no upside to engaging him. There was only downside. Which is what I got next. 
Anyway, before I finally went to bed, I posted this status on Facebook. 

Why, Why, Why do I argue with brain dead, blowhard idiots at 2:30 in the morning?
Well, its kinda fun...till it isn't.
And it's also possible I am a self inflicting sadist.
Just not sure yet. I am testing it, back testing and then I will forward test it.
I will get back to you on the results.

That was my flip status.

Why do I do it? In reality, I knew but I didn't really know for sure. Although I did have some ideas, until my friend Lisa Callaghan posted a comment on a status that I posted on Facebook about it.
Lisa can be spacey, and flip, and misguidedly humorous at times. But in this case she was 100% accurate, which I agreed with and admitted to.

She said "I think it's your inherent need to be right. I will "argue" to a point, then once I realize it's not going anywhere, I back off. Agree to disagree. You don't have that in you...(must be a man thing....LOL)"

That wouldn't be a newsflash to anybody that knows me. Or me. I am not delusional. I realize its an issue for me.  And it always has been.
Or was. It wont be going forward. This was the last time. Really. The last time. I mean that.

Yes I'm combative. And it cost me. As it should.
How did it cost me?
Well, here is the Paul Harvey "rest of the story."
Last night, it was back to work. But I was still behind. About 2 or 3 hours behind and post time came. I wasn't ready. I knew that. I missed something I would never miss, and I would have made good money if I had seen it. So, I didn't bet at all, and it came in. It cost me money. My combative nature cost me big time. I paid the price. As I should. Why?
Because, if you don't pay a significant price for your mistakes, you likely wont learn the lesson and make them again.
There are only so many hours in a day. And if you waste that time, you will suffer elsewhere. I wasted 2 hours on that guy, and it's the 2 hours I needed on Monday. Hey, we are all human. It happens. As long as it doesn't happen again once you realize you can't let it and succeed.  On Sunday, I was chatting with a friend. I was reminded of my own advice to others on this very topic. I was asked whose fault it was that I got sucked into the whole debate and argument. I replied.

"It was my fault."

And it certainly was.  
What is my advice to others when they repeat bad behaviors that they know they shouldn't? Well, my friend reminded me of that as well, although I knew the answer before it was given. 
Its from that classic comedy bit on Mad TV with Bob Newhart. 

DR. SWITZER: Tell me about the problem that you wish to address.KATHERINE: Oh, okay. Well, I have this fear of being buried alive in a box. I just start thinking about being buried alive and I begin to panic.
DR. SWITZER: Has anyone ever tried to bury you alive in a box?
KATHERINE: No. No, but truly thinking about
it does make my life horrible. I mean, I can't go through tunnels or be in an elevator or in a house, anything boxy.
DR. SWITZER: So, what you are saying is you
are claustrophobic? KATHERINE: Yes, yes, that's it. DR. SWITZER: All right. Well, let's go, Katherine. I'm going to say two words to you right now. I want you to listen to them very, very carefully. Then I want you to take them out of the office with you and incorporate them into your life.
KATHERINE: Shall I write them down?

DR. SWITZER: No. If it makes you comfortable.
It's just two words. We find most people can remember them.

DR. SWITZER: You ready?
KATHERINE: Yes.DR. SWITZER: Okay. Here they are. Stop it!
KATHERINE: I'm sorry?

DR. SWITZER: Stop it!


DR. SWITZER: Yes. S-T-O-P, new word, I-T.

KATHERINE: So, what are you saying?

DR. SWITZER: You know, it's funny, I say two
simple words and I cannot tell you the amount of people who say exactly the same thing you are saying. I mean, you know, this is not Yiddish, Katherine. This is English. Stop it.
KATHERINE: So I should just stop it?
DR. SWITZER: There you go. I mean, you don't want to go through life being scared of being buried alive in a box, do you? I mean, that sounds frightening.

DR. SWITZER: Then stop it.

KATHERINE: I can't. I mean it's --

DR. SWITZER: No, no, no. We don't go there.
Just stop it.
KATHERINE: So, I should just stop being afraid
of being buried alive in a box? DR. SWITZER: You got it. Good girl.

It seems so simple.  And it is. But as the Dr. points out, people have a hard time thinking it is just that simple. Just stop that behavior. 
Yes. The idiots are the box. And they want to bury me alive inside their box. Their box of stupidity and yammering. And in reality, I walk right into the box. They just open that door and invite me in. I don't see the stop sign, and when I do, I ignore it,  run it, and get in the accident known as wasted and lost time.

Which brings me to my last cultural reference. Which is something I like to do.
It comes from 3 different scenes from the movie PULP FICTION.

The first scene depicts Jules and Vincent, the gangsters, who are visiting an apartment of some younger kids who have the property of their boss, Marcellus Wallace. Based on their jobs, the likely outcome for these kids is not good.

Marvin:"It's over there."
Jules: I don't remember asking you a goddamned thing."
Jules shoots "Roger" after Brett tells him that they got into the whole situation with the best of intentions.
Jules: "Oh, I'm sorry, did I break your concentration?"
Jules: "Oh, I didn't mean to do that. Please continue. You were saying something about best intentions. What's the matter? Oh, you were finished. Well, allow me to retort."

In this scene, Jules is the hothead, although play acting to some extent, while Vincent is the cool, disinterested one. In the process of doing that, they almost get shot by someone out of the blue. Jules, the one in charge, lost control of the situation, only to be lucky that the shooter missed them with all the shots he took at point blank range. It startles him upon reflection, and it changes his behavior going forward. 

Really, there was no need to debate and banter with the kids. The job was to go in there, get the briefcase, kill them, and leave. He strayed from the task, and it almost cost them their lives. They didn't check all the rooms, because he was too busy not doing what he was there to do. 

In the second scene, known as "the Jimmy Situation", and the encounter with "The Wolf", Marvin, the one who they didn't kill in the apartment because he was some sort of spy for them, got shot accidentally in the car and was now dead in the trunk of that car, with blood and guts all over the backseat and windows. They had to get rid of the body without drawing attention to themselves. 

After The Wolf, who was brought in as a "fixer" and crisis situation problem solver, surveys and analyzes the situation, he barks out direct and specific orders to Jules and Vincent. Vincent is a bit like me. No, a lot like me. He doesn't like to be dictated to. So, he lashes back at the Wolf. 

The Wolf: Jimmie, lead the way. Boys, get to work.
Vincent: A please would be nice.
The Wolf: Come again?
Vincent: I said a please would be nice.
The Wolf: Get it straight buster - I'm not here to say please, I'm here to tell you what to do and if self-preservation is an instinct you possess you'd better fucking do it and do it quick. I'm here to help - if my help's not appreciated then lotsa luck, gentlemen.
Jules: No, Mr. Wolf, it ain't like that, your help is definitely appreciated.
Vincent: I don't mean any disrespect, I just don't like people barking orders at me.
The Wolf: If I'm curt with you it's because time is a factor. I think fast, I talk fast and I need you guys to act fast if you wanna get out of this. So, pretty please... with sugar on top. Clean the fucking car. 

I think Jules saw a reflection of himself in Vincent, and also took note of how savvy The Wolf was and how he handled Vincent, to get him to do what he wanted even though he didn't like being told to do it. But Vincent ultimately did what he was told, and The Wolf still came off as being in complete control.
Later, Jules and Vincent are cleaning out the car, when this exchange further cements who Vincent is, who Jules is and who he wants to be. 

Jules: [Vincent and Jules are cleaning the inside of the car which is covered in blood] Oh, man, I will never forgive your ass for this shit. This is some fucked-up repugnant shit.
Vincent: Jules, did you ever hear the philosophy that once a man admits that he's wrong that he is immediately forgiven for all wrongdoings? Have you ever heard that?
Jules: Get the fuck out my face with that shit! The motherfucker that said that shit never had to pick up itty-bitty pieces of skull on account of your dumb ass.
Vincent: I got a threshold, Jules. I got a threshold for the abuse that I will take. Now, right now, I'm a fuckin' race car, right, and you got me the red. And I'm just sayin', I'm just sayin' that it's fuckin' dangerous to have a race car in the fuckin' red. That's all. I could blow.
Jules: Oh! Oh! You ready to blow?
Vincent: Yeah, I'm ready to blow.
Jules: Well, I'm a mushroom-cloud-layin' motherfucker, motherfucker! Every time my fingers touch brain, I'm Superfly T.N.T., I'm the Guns of the Navarone! IN FACT, WHAT THE FUCK AM I DOIN' IN THE BACK? YOU'RE THE MOTHERFUCKER WHO SHOULD BE ON BRAIN DETAIL! We're fuckin' switchin'! I'm washin' the windows, and you're pickin' up this nigger's skull! 

It leads to the final scene, when it is all over, and they are having breakfast at a coffee shop as a robbery takes place. The robbery goes wrong and now Jules has to deal with the situation. He acts more like the Wolf, while Vincent is the total wildcard he was in the house and garage. Jules is left with the task of sorting it all out. And does. 


The contrast is between a wild card like Vincent and a hotheaded, but level headed one like Jules. I am Jules, or I should be. Or I want to be. The one at the end of the movie, not the one in the apartment who almost got his head blown off because he lost control of the situation. 
In the final scene, Jules is trying to diffuse the situation, while Vincent keeps pouring gas on the fire. Ultimately, I want to be the Wolf. And at times I am the Wolf. But for now, I will settle for being Jules. Baby steps. You walk before you can run. And lately, I have been Vincent. I don't want to be Vincent. That is not the person I want to be, nor is it in my best interests to be that person. And contrast the way Jules handled the 3 situations. In one, he was angry, out of control, and ended up lucky to not be dead. In the second, he saw how a cool customer like The Wolf handled it--and Vincent--and then in the last scene,  he was that cool customer who assessed the situation and resolved it so that everyone got what they needed. He evolved. I will evolve. I have to. I will. Because I have to. So, I will. 

Jules: Now Yolanda, we're not gonna do anything stupid, are we?
Yolanda: You don't hurt him.
Jules: Nobody's gonna hurt anybody. We're gonna be like three little Fonzies here. And what's Fonzie like? Come on Yolanda what's Fonzie like?
Yolanda: Cool?
Jules: What?
Yolanda: He's cool.
Jules: Correctamundo. And that's what we're gonna be. We're gonna be cool. Now Ringo, I'm gonna count to three, and when I count three, you let go of your gun, and sit your ass down. But when you do it, you do it cool. Ready? One... two... three.
[Ringo sits down opposite Jules]
Yolanda: All right, now you let him go.
Jules: Yolanda, I thought you said you were gonna be cool. Now when you yell at me, it makes me nervous. And when I get nervous, I get scared. And when motherfuckers get scared, that's when motherfuckers accidentally get shot.
Yolanda: You just know, you touch him, you die.
Jules: Well, that seems to be the situation. But I don't want that. And you don't want that. And Ringo here *definitely* doesn't want that. 
Jules: Normally, both of your sorry asses would be deader than fucking fried chicken by now, but you happened to pull this shit while I'm in a transitional period, so I don't wanna kill you. I wanna help you. But I can't give you what's in this case, it doesn't belong to me. Besides, I've already been through too much shit this morning over this case to just hand it over to your dumb asses.
Jules then recites a long passage from the Bible, the same thing he did in the apartment before he shot Brett and then received what he perceived to be divine intervention to save his life. 
Jules: ....Now... I been sayin' that shit for years. And if you ever heard it, that meant your ass. You'd be dead right now. I never gave much thought to what it meant. I just thought it was a cold-blooded thing to say to a motherfucker before I popped a cap in his ass. But I saw some shit this mornin' made me think twice. See, now I'm thinking: maybe it means you're the evil man. And I'm the righteous man. And Mr. 9mm here... he's the shepherd protecting my righteous ass in the valley of darkness. Or it could mean you're the righteous man and I'm the shepherd and it's the world that's evil and selfish. And I'd like that. But that shit ain't the truth. The truth is you're the weak. And I'm the tyranny of evil men. But I'm tryin', Ringo. I'm tryin' real hard to be the shepherd.
Yes I'm combative. And it cost me. As it should. I was the weak one. But, I'm trying to be the strong one,  the shepherd. Its my toughest battle. An internal struggle against my inherent nature to compete and be combative.
Just because you are right, and you know you are right, there is no need to prove it. Not at the expense of your own personal wealth, health and goals. You win the battles, but you lose the war. And winning battles to lose wars doesn't make any sense from where I am sitting. Especially when you know that is the certain outcome ahead of time.
I don't even need to debate that with myself. Nor will I. Anymore.
In the big picture, I win the battle but I lose my own personal war.
But that was yesterday. Going forward, that wont be the case.
And so, I didn't work my tail off this time. And I didn't get the big pick 4 payoff I should have gotten. Because, when I should have been working my tail off, I was debating something I didn't need to be debating.  And it cost me. As it should. There is always a price to pay for anything in life. I paid that price last night. It was a very expensive lesson. One I hope I don't have to pay again.
Yes I'm combative. And it cost me. As it should.Once you are in the big leagues, you can't act like you are in the minor leagues anymore. Or else you prove you don't belong there. I am in the big leagues now. I know I belong. Now, I have to prove that. To others, but mostly to myself. 
In the big leagues, composure and using your time wisely are essential. No matter how much talent you have. 
I figured that out. Now I have to apply it. 
I will close with one more cultural reference. From a song.
It took me a long time to realize
That I've come so far
And end up going nowhere
-Deep River Woman


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