This Is How My Mind Works

They say that great minds think alike. Some jokes start with sayings like that.

OPPOSITE

Now, as a comedian, you’ll typically take the opposite stance, i.e. They say that great minds think alike…damn, I can’t think of a joke here. Let me go to something else then I’ll come back and give my right brain a chance to work on the problem…

They say that great minds think alike, but I don’t know anyone great who thinks like I do. OK WHATEVER! It’s not the best joke. Let’s just move on, aight?

No? OK fuck. Ummm…They say great minds think alike, but even a broken clock is right twice a day. Did someone else come up with that? Let me check…Nobody ever connected those two sentences? Weird. It seems like such a hack joke. Anyways.

AGREEMENT

A less likely path is agreeing with the statement, perhaps because being agreeable isn’t the most obvious well-spring (well-spring, not wellspring, right?) of laughter, perhaps because to agree means to inherently lack conflict, conflict of course being a bedrock of comedy (every joke has a victim). That said, it’s still an option, i.e. ‘They say that great minds think alike, which makes sense because my wife eats like a shark.’ (It’s my attempt at Roger Dangerfield; if you’d like to try it as dangerfield, make sure you bulge your eyes when you say ‘shark’ and then give a annoyed to the point of being bewildered look)

NUANCED ANALYSIS

The third, and least traversed option, exists: a nuanced look at the quote. First, we might recognize that every quote has an opposite – but seemingly true – mirror to itself i.e. Great minds think alike vs. no two people are exactly the same.

Religious literalists often into this problem, i.e. The bible says do unto others but then also says eye for an eye. I remember sitting in church and thinking, ‘Man, there must be another preacher in the world right now doing a sermon on this very passage but inferring a completely different conclusion than the one my pastor is inferring…and both are going to seem entirely convincing to their congration. Amazing….scary.’

Oh wait, there’s the pun take on the quote, i.e. ‘They say great minds think alike, but I haven’t met enough sentient shredders to have an intelligent opinion on the matter.’

But wait, you say: stop. Stop right there. Read the quote again: great minds think ALIKE. It didn’t mean SAME. Ah fuck now I wrote all this shit based on a shaky premise like stevens? But wait, what then is the importance of the statement if you don’t take it to the extreme? Great minds think alike? Oh yeah? Doesn’t every think alike is some cases? Are you saying that ALL great minds share a statistically significant collection of thought patterns, rendering them alike in the way that they think? Yeah, OK. Yeah I’ll agree with that. But there’s more here.

To restrict great people to having the same mind would be too Western-oriented. In the East, they believe in Anatta, which stands for no self. A great mind, a Buddhist would say, is not the ultimate goal. Their version of the saying would be: great beings be alike.

Ok, but are there other options here? We can agree entirely, disagree entirely, or agree with caveats. Can we do anything else with an opinion?

Lets take a simple opinion so the task is as light as possible: I like Vince Vaughan movies.

So there are the extremes: I love Vince Vaughan movies VS I hate Vince Vaughan movies.

(Picture of Vince with nose guy checkmark in green superimposed, side by side with a picture of Vince with Jennifer Red X on it like Family Feud’s X)

Then there is the caveated, qualified opinion: I love Vince Vaughan movies when the guy with the nose co-stars. I don’t like Vince Vaughan movies when it co-stars Jennifer Aniston, because watching Jennifer Aniston is depressing. Why? I don’t know why…there’s something….something lonely about her. I have this feeling that she’s destined to settle by marrying a good man, but not a man she’s in love with. But then again, maybe I’m projecting my opinion of her archetype onto her, as in 45-year old 8.5 out of 10 Caucasian woman can never find true love. Maybe I’m doing what people do to celebrities where they pretend to know someone because they’ve seen them on TV.

Hm, lets try that one on for size. Perhaps a more complicated subject will provide more room for opinion options.

(Strikethrough) I love writing comedy. (/Strike through) I love writing.

Oh wait, there is the no opinion: I neither love nor hate Vince Vaughan movies.

Oh wait, there’s the confused opinion: Which one is Vince Vaughan, the tall Jew or the crooked nose Gentile? But wait, that question implies the auteur has an opinion. That’s not really a different.

There’s also the recognition that no opinion is static. For example, if Vince Vaughan decided that he would only do movies with the happy 34-year old Ebenezzer Scrooge, then after ten years I might say I love once Vaughan movies (just so I could get the bad taste of the Jennifer Aniston movie out of my mouth).

Then the real question is: did you exercise free will in forming your opinion, or is your opinion simply the result of biology, experience, and the effects of randomness? Because that’s what Sam Harris believes.

Sam Harris not only believes that there is no self, but he also believes that there is no free will. Your decision to read this far? That wasn’t really YOUR decision. That decision came about as a complex result of your biology, life experiences, and the effects of randomness.

For example, ‘I’ formed my opinion after falling asleep to that Vince Vaughan movie with Jennifer Aniston in Cuba. I say ‘that’ movie because I don’t know if there is more than one Vince Vaughan and Jennifer Aniston movie.

I wrote this while listening to EchoSmith’s Bright, you guys know that song? You make a girl go eww Whoo eww! Lah lah lahhhh

Who knows how that song colored my opinion as I was supposedly thinking about it free of influence? Who knows how the much the song influenced my mood, causing my synapses to fire like this instead of that?

I’m a genius. I don’t care if anyone likes this shit. This shit is fucking money, coolie. Or perhaps it’s not genius until the idea is laid out in a way makes it conducive to mass consumption? Hmmm…but wait. Shakespeare is revered broadly, but not popular. But as far as plays go, he’s the best…OK so yeah.

Can genius which is inaccessible to the lay person still genius? It is, if the best of the best agree on it.

No, bc the best of the best still have different tastes, and being judges well by one’s contemporaries isn’t necessarily an indication that one’s ideas will be valued by future generations.

But you can reach more people by making things clear. Shakespeare made things CLEAR through descriptive language and appeal.

Write a blog explaining difference between eastern and west philosophy in the way you explained it to Lisette in Cuba.

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What’s So Bad About Being Embarrassed?

Inspiration for this post comes from a video in which Tony Robbins helps a man to stop stuttering. I wanted to apply the same psychiatry on myself to see what I could discover. I just needed the right question…


Tonight, I was on the balcony, taking in the lightning show. I love being out on the balcony in the summer, but rainy days are extra special.

I listened to a Sam Harris guided meditation session entitled, ‘Looking for the Self‘ and, with my eyes closed, seemed to plunge forward into space. I opened my eyes when I felt the g-force exerting on my chest, calmed down, and then closed my eyes again. This time, I was determined to keep my eyes closed.

The next time it came, I was ready and went for the ride. I went through. On the other end, I felt confidently calm.

A question’s been bothering me ever since I started my comedy career: What’s so bad about being embarrassed that causes me to shy away from performing stand-up comedy? With the confidence I felt in my blood, instead of shying away from the question, I asked myself, for the first time SERIOUSLY asked myself,

Q: Why’s it so bad to be embarrassed? When’s the first time you felt embarrassed?

A: The first time I felt embarrassed was when I peed my pants during the family portraits. We were in the middle of the shoot and my mom had to dry my pants before we could resume shooting.

Q: But what’s so bad about being embarrassed? That people will reject me? What’s so bad about people rejecting me?

A: Incidentally, I also peed my pants in grade 7. Yup, that’s right: grade fucking 7. And you wanna know when I peed my pants in grade 7? AT THE END OF THE FUCKING YEAR PARTY. Yup, that’s right. So guess who had the WHOLE SUMMER to agonize over what was gonna happen when the entire school found out that I peed my pants?

So, it’s September, and I get off the bus. I’m scared shitless (sorry, had to go for it). I walk up to the front door, and one of my friends remarks, ‘Hey, it’s PeePants!’ LMAO. That’s actually pretty goddamn funny, PeePants. And my worst fears are seeming to come true. But then people eventually find out, and you know what? They don’t really care. They don’t give a shit.

Q: What’s so bad about people rejecting me? Why do I need their love? What’s so bad about losing their love? What’s so bad about losing love itself? When was the first time I felt rejected?

A:Ahhhh…my dad not lifting me up…I’ll explain. When I was a child, I used to love when my dad would lift me up. That’s how I knew he loved me, and that’s when I felt most loved.

One day, we were coming back from doing errands or something, and he began walking up the stairs. He was about four tenths of the way up, and I asked him to come down, lift me up, and take me up the stairs in his arms.

He said, ‘C’maaaaan, come up stairs.’ And with that, he turned his back, and continued to walk upstairs. Feeling rejected, I began to cry. I begged him to carry me up the stairs. He didn’t come down, not a single step. That was the ultimate form of rejection, to go from doing the thing that made me felt loved the most to (seemingly at the time) never doing it again.

But he wasn’t rejecting me. He was teaching me to stand on my own two feet and be a man. To be responsible. And fuck was I ever responsible. I had a paper route by the time I was eleven and paid virtually everything after that with other jobs. Consequently, as I got older, I looked at him and thought, ‘Hey motherfucker, you ain’t done NOTHING for me. I got ALL this shit on my own.’

And, partly, I think, that’s exactly the man he wanted to create. Old school fathers don’t required their children’s love; only their respect and obedience. I grew up to a T how he wanted me to grow up. To be smart, like him. To be easygoing, like him. He molded me into his own image. A responsible, intelligent man. When he didn’t pick me up, he didn’t reject me; he was loving me. He was teaching me to be a man.

Q: And what if the crowd doesn’t love you? What would their rejection mean?

A: It might mean the rejection of your art, or of you, but what of it? The public’s love can never be true love, love worth having, because the public cannot love YOU, they can only love the IDEA of you, and that doesn’t have anything to do with WHO YOU TRULY ARE.

The love of the people that know you the most and care for you the most (for the right reasons, of course) is the most important thing, and you can never lose that. YOU CAN NEVER LOSE THAT. YOU CAN NEVER LOSE THE LOVE OF THE PEOPLE THAT LOVE YOU THE MOST. YOU CAN NEVER LOSE WHAT’S MOST IMPORTANT.

So get out there. It doesn’t matter how they respond. I can never lose true love. It’s always there. I can feel my dad’s love for me in my heart. I can never lose that.

You can never lose that, either.

Q:But if people don’t love me, won’t I eventually fail as a comedian?

A:No. People will eventually love funny. That’s all you need to worry about. Funny gets through every time. If you’re funny, you don’t need ANYONE ELSE.

None of this means, by the way, that you shouldn’t avoid embarrassment (i.e. in front of grandma, etc.). Don’t apply the prudence of avoiding embarrassment too broadly. It’s good to avoid embarrassment where appropriate.

But embarrassment, true embarrassment, the loss of love of those who you love the most, can never, EVER happen. Don’t apply the fear of losing the love of the people you love the most with losing the love of the public. Don’t apply that fear where it doesn’t apply. The ability to discriminate between people, things, and situations is the height of all intelligence.

Having the public’s love would be nice; not having it is not the end of the world. They don’t know what they want to love anyway; some Thought Leader tells them who they should love and they love. The same Thought Leader tells them to hate the person they were told to love, so they hate.

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What Was I Talking About Again? – Episode 1 – Eliminating Negative Behaviour

Great, another podcast. Just what we needed. It’s called WWITAA, or What Was I Talking About Again?

Why I think this podcast’ll be different: It’s a secret. It’s a small secret, but a secret nonetheless.

On this episode, I share how I’m leveraging Tony Robbins’ ideas of behaviour and belief to change my life. Of course, I get lost, found, even more lost, and it’s during one of these times when I think I’m MOST lost when I discover something BETTER than I thought I was trying to explain in the first place!

FOCUS TIME TOPIC
On Topic 0:00 – 2:07 Overcoming Negative Habits
Off Topic 2:03 The face ages faster than the body given a good diet.
Realize I’m off topic and try back to get on track 2:27
Get even more lost 2:29 The egotism in podcasting.
Realize I’m off topic and try back to get on track 2:42
On Topic 2:50 Overcoming Negative Habits
Off Topic 4:38 ‘YO, *che*, I’d take chicken wings over bacon EVERY WEEK, NO QUESTION.’
Realize I’m off topic and try back to get on track 4:50
On Topic 5:05 Overcoming Negative Habits
Off Topic 5:38 You have no idea what’s coming next
Realize I’m off topic and try back to get on track 6:02
On Topic 6:03 Overcoming Negative Habits
Off Topic 8:50 Eddie Brock/Venom are the antitheses of Peter Parker/Spider-man.
Realize I’m off topic and try back to get on track 10:37
On Topic 10:39 Overcoming Negative Habits
Off Topic 11:14 Adding to truth renders it false.
Realize I’m off topic and try back to get on track 11:31
Get even more lost 11:38 They say when the student is ready, the teacher will appear. But what about when he’s not ready‚Ķis he not still being taught by someone/something else?
Realize I’m off topic and try back to get on track 12:31
On Topic 12:43 Overcoming Negative Habits
Merging of my rambling and The topic 15:37 Merging both Topic and Off Topic

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To Gain The World But Lose Your Soul

what does it profit a man to gain the world but lose his soulIn this blog, I’m going to show you my thought process as it happened in real time. The italicized portion in the beginning is my thought process before I figured out the underlying truth. If you don’t give two shits about my process, start reading at Desired Outcome: Become a World-Famous Stand-Up Comic, and please accept my apologies for my hubris in thinking that my ideas are so grand that people will actually want to see my thought process in the first place.

Continue reading

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Crying into a Plate of Chicken Wings

BBQ Chicken Wings

You know, ever since I started this blog, two things have remained pretty consistent:
1) My anxiety/depression/fear of the stage (or more accurately, my fear of rejection and negative feedback).
2) My weight.

The first constant, so to speak, is something I’ve already beat to death. The second constant, however, never really became part of the conversation. Quite frankly, I’ve been a fat ass for about ten years now. You’d’ve thought that with my father and uncles passing away due to diabetes-related heart attacks that I would’ve woken up – nope. Apparently, my cravings were stronger than my will to live, LMAO.

Ignored vegetables have I over the past ten years. Unless it was drowned in Continue reading

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