Delenda Est Carthago

Why not delve into a twisted mind? Thoughts on the world, history, politics, entertainment, comics, and why all shall call me master!

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Location: Mesa, Arizona, United States

I plan on being the supreme dictator of the country, if not the world. Therefore, you might want to stay on my good side. Just a hint: ABBA rules!

8.2.05

Underachieving bastard, that's me

Colin Cowherd made an interesting comment on his radio show yesterday (that's his real name, by the way) about Jose Canseco's new book and about Jose Canseco in general. He said that Canseco was an underachiever, despite hitting over 450 home runs and becoming the first "40-40" guy in baseball history (40 steals and 40 home runs in the same season). Canseco wasted his talents on steroids and scoring with lots of women (but not Madonna, says Canseco, despite the rumors), and he's been under house arrest recently (I'm not sure if he still is). Cowherd made the comment that most people are underachievers. He said that most people don't have the job they would love, because at some point in their lives they decided to take security over risk. He said that some people aren't as ambitious as they used to be because they got married and had kids and they needed to work to support them. I'm not disputing that, but I wonder exactly what "underachieving" means to him. He has a wife and kid -- does that mean he's not doing what he wants because he needs to support them? I know I'm an underachiever -- I should be much further along with my writing, for instance, than I am. But is there a difference between "underachieving" and "making choices" in life? I have made conscious decisions about where I want my life to go, and it's working out quite well. Shit happens, of course -- I lost my first teaching job, my daughter has a traumatic brain injury, we decided not to keep a baby with Down syndrome because of the stress of raising one kid with a brain injury, and now my wife has been laid off (that's the latest thing, as in last Thursday) -- but shit happens to everyone. The point is -- am I really underachieving if I choose to have a family and support it instead of going without an income for months or years relentlessly pursuing a writing career? I write often, but am I not devoted to my craft because I don't go off to Paris and work as a male gigolo and sit up all night drinking sour coffee and smoking unfiltered cigarettes in an effort to create "art"? Is it wrong to seek comfort in your life? I don't know. I'm ridiculously happy to be married and be a father. Cowherd seems to think that the sacrifices everyone has to make in life amounts to "underachieving." Maybe he's right. Could we stand a world where everyone overachieves? Who would clean the toilets?????

I think I've achieved a hell of a lot in my life. Could I have done more? Well, shit, of course I could have. Even George Bush, who's been handed everything in his life, could do more. Even the goddamned Pope could. Who couldn't?

Now I'm rambling. Oh, the sting of another championship loss!!! (I'll get over it soon, I promise.)

Any thoughts? Talk amongst yourselves!

5 Comments:

Blogger David Fiore said...

Greg--I'm really sorry to hear that things have been so awful (healthwise especially) for your family...and here I am crying over losing two cats in a year...well, I'm still going to cry over them (I'm the worst kind of underachiever--the soggy kind), but I wouldn't blame ya if you think I'm being ridiculous...

Colin Cowherd--I've heard that show a few times... I really hate him...(I guess he goes on about being a "grown up" quite often, 'cause he was doing it when I stumbled across him too) I'm not too fond of sports talk in general, of course--although Jim Rome has moments of brilliance...

anyway, write when you can and enjoy the company of the people you love, man--I don't recommend running off to Paris, unless you all go!

Dave

8/2/05 9:35 PM  
Blogger David said...

Greg, I hope things work out for you and your family. I was saddened when I read your post to hear of how life has thrown you some twists along the way, so I just wanted to wish you good luck for the future. And I second Dave's sentiments - enjoy your family and your writing when you can.
David

9/2/05 10:04 AM  
Blogger Greg said...

Thanks, guys. I would never belittle your losses, Dave -- I have two cats and would be devastated if they died. That's my point though -- shit happens, but you get through it. Every day my daughter draws breath is a blessing, since she almost died, and my wife's pregnant, so there's great stuff as well. I just don't understand how "settling" for a nice life is "underachieving." It's a lot harder to live "real" life than focus solely on one goal to the detriment of everything else. How many "overachievers" are truly happy? I wonder.

9/2/05 1:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Greg,

I'm with Dave Fiore's right in asking who is this Colin Cowherd to tell people what to do with their lives? Sure, none of us reach our full potential because we have to make lots of tradeoffs along the way, and it sounds like you've had plenty of tough times and hard decisions.

On the other hand, I sometimes wonder whether I'm making the right choices and definitely wish I'd done things differently in the past, but I figure that's normal. If none of us really know what we're doing, we're all puzzling it out. I'm surviving, and so I'd like to think I wouldn't really care if some guy who doesn't know me thought I was wasting my time. Just because your goals and ambitions change over time doesn't mean you've become totally aimless (and by this I mean generic "you;" you seem to know what you're doing just fine).

Rose

9/2/05 2:57 PM  
Blogger Greg said...

I agree, Rose, that it doesn't matter what someone I don't know thinks. I just found it interesting, because I think everyone underachieves in some way. You're right, it's all about choices. I know I'm an underachiever in my professional life, because I chose that path. I think I'm a pretty damned good husband and father, because that's what's important to me. I know I underachieve at marketing my writing, but that's because I'm just not a good salesman, and right now, the writing part is easy, because I can do it at home, while the selling is a little more difficult.

Cowherd is fun to listen to because he says some outrageous things, and I think he's the kind of guy for whom career is everything. He made a comment some years ago in Portland (which is where he was before he went national) that if you're not driving to work by the time you're 30, you're a failure. At that time I was working in an office in downtown Portland, and although I wasn't 30 yet, I had no desire to drive, because Portland had such great public transportation. Why should I spend exorbitant amounts of money each month just to drive? Because I'm "important"? I think Cowherd's just bitter because he had to leave a beautiful place like Portland and move to Connecticut (not that there's anything wrong with Conn., but it's like zero degrees there right now) in order to go national.

9/2/05 6:17 PM  

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