The tragedy of Trayvon Martin's death has captured me.
We were introduced to this story as a hate crime. George Zimmerman, a Latino man who heads up his neighborhood's volunteer watch program called the police to report a suspicious individual in his neighborhood, Trayvon Martin.
The neighborhood had recently suffered a rash of burglaries, and Zimmerman was hot on the trigger. He called the police to report, started following the individual on foot despite the 911 operator's insistence he shouldn't, and the story ends with an unarmed 17-year old Trayvon Martin lying dead from a fatal gunshot wound.
The moral we were told to take from this tragedy was to stop being prejudicially suspicious of black youth.
The mere idea that Trayvon "appeared" suspicious was troubling to us all. That the mere presence of a young black man in a hoodie would warrant a police call. That, if we were being honest with ourselves, we might also pause unsettled and take another look at Trayvon Martin if we noticed him walking through our neighborhood.
It was a convicting story.
And then, the story kept unfolding.
It still is.
It turns out Travyon Martin may not be altogether innocent. He may have escalated the incident, attacked Zimmerman and beaten his head repeatedly against the curb before being shot, as a lone eyewitness seems to corroborate.
And whether or not you deem it relevant, it appears Travyon may have a troubling past. School suspensions for drug (residue) possession, vandalism and possession of theft implements.
Does his short rap sheet make his death any less tragic? No.
But, the issue here is stereotype.
The moral we were told was that television and the media have corrupted us all into prejudicing young black youth into the same scary bucket. We were told this prejudice was without merit, and to magically stop being suspicious of fictitious fears our culture has wrongly ingrained within us.
And now what do we do with this new information? This unfortunate example that builds up the very stereotype this story initially led us to fight against?
Perhaps our society/media/culture has indeed wrongly influenced us into our expectations of a young black man wearing a hoodie.
But, is Trayvon Martin immune to that cultural rub-off? Or is there a part of him who willingly chose to embrace that identity? Who found strength in it. Power in it.
I think I thought something about the day itself was holy. That since Sunday was church day, we were supposed to honor the rest of the day, too.
Now, I'm starting to think God just wants us to take a break.
And it wasn't until this new period of my life when I'm busier than I've ever been that I realize I need this.
I need a day of rest.
So, the last few weeks, I've been making my Saturdays a little worse. Staying up late and making sure all my freelance work gets done in order to make sure my Sundays can be free - with only church and spending time with my wife and Daylia on the schedule.
And it's been pretty awesome. Refreshing. Recharging.
It doesn't always work. Stuff gets in the way sometimes. But, it's become a priority we're shooting for at our house.
I get the Sabbath now. Just like other "God rules", they're not weird legalistic things. They're just awesome advice designed by the one who intimately understands how we work and what we need.
Thought I'd better post this screen grab now in case Ohio State loses next weekend...
And yes, I'm "Sabai". For those of you who only know this blog as "All Opinions Are Not Equal", it started off as sabaisays.blogspot.com, a less Socratic, more dictatorial blog approach with daily spouts of why everyone are morons.
I think it's better this way...or at least now my dictatorial rants are better disguised as group think...
But back to the point. Seriously, Moneyball works for everything!
I don't invite people to events I participate in because I'm confident they wouldn't be interested. And I don't want to put them in the awkward position of either an obligatory attendance, or a guilty decline.
That's why I'm always confused why people invite me to their own events regarding things that I have never shown a shared interest in.
Now I'm realizing that perhaps people actually enjoy doing things...
When you find out you're going to have a kid, you realize you start having to make important decisions regarding things you are completely ignorant about.
Should I have an epidural? Should I breastfeed? Should I vaccinate? Should my kid only eat organic foods? Should I throw away my laundry detergent? Should I throw away everything plastic in my home?
And we spend the 9-month gestation period trying to become experts at things we had never thought of before in our lives.
Now if you spend 9 months learning French only in your spare time, and I put you in Paris today, alone, you wouldn't be able to get very far.
Yet, we make these decisions with such confidence that we then evangelize them to the masses.
"Don't you dare vaccinate your child!" "Don't you dare feed your child that!"
And we kind of know what we're talking about. But, at the very least, there needs to be some humility here. Because how confident can we be in these decisions? How can we make objective decisions regarding the very important job of parenting?
My wife and I are slightly unique in the fact that we had already jumped on the crazy train a few years before Daylia was born regarding organic eating.
How convinced are we that organic eating is better for you? Pretty convinced. And this is, at least partially, where sheer probability comes into play. Is something with pesticides in it probably worse for you than something without? Probably. Does a diet with animal protein (meat, milk) carry significant health risks? We find the correlating evidence pretty convincing. Do vaccinations cause autism? No, we're convinced they don't.
So, our child slept in a co-sleeper. We solely breastfed. Went with cloth diapers. Non-toxic laundry detergent. And we are vaccinating her (except for Hep B thus far).
We're playing the odds as we understand them. These decisions weren't black and white. And we are fully aware that even the smartest in the medical community don't fully understand the cellular effect of our food, our drugs and our environment at a microscopic level. So, we probably lean more toward the "natural" and the cautious than even science dictates we should at this point.
But, these are not only decisions based on science and odds. But, on value as well.
Because would Daylia be safer if we moved to a much nicer neighborhood? Probably. What if we spent $20,000 on a state-of-the-art security system for our home? Most definitely.
Yet, we have done neither. Our relative poverty also insists upon relative neglect.
In short, people who yell, "Don't you dare vaccinate your child!" think they have a chance to save your baby's life. That's why they're passionate. They just also happen to be wrong.
My friend Ryan recently explained why we're enjoying this season of Saturday Night Live so much.
His theory? We are slowly getting closer to the ages of the head writers.
Comedy is cyclical. It is cultural. And our senses of humor are deeply shaped by our childhoods. For example, my generation is the Simpsons-Seinfeld generation. That's our baseline. Slightly dry. Slightly zany. Overtly sarcastic.
And that's where Saturday Night Live has been slowly moving these past three years with, Seth Myers, the host of Weekend Update, as the lone head writer.
If you stopped watching SNL during the 2000s (for good reason), give it another shot. Unless you're old. Then, go get rent some Best of Dana Carvey or something.
Just like I can't wait until our generation takes over design, politics and business, I'm really excited to see what SNL continues to evolve into. (Myers is actually 11 years my senior.) But, even now, I'm absolutely loving it. Because each year, I'm becoming more and more in charge of what gets written.
"You can not presume a position of authority. You must be placed there."
This is my running mantra. The most important professional lesson I could ever take to heart.
And I never do.
After a fleeting moment of clarity last year, I posted this, thinking I had finally learned my lesson.
And it didn't stick. I do this every time. I think people can see me the way I see me. That they are equally confident in my abilities. That they are equally dying for me to steer their ship.
Well, guess what? People don't like their gig getting stepped on. Especially by folks our age.
It doesn't matter if you know what you're talking about. You must be invited to the party. Even if you show up with a lovely bottle of wine, it's still really weird. Because you weren't invited.
You may be at your current job, confident of what you could do if you were just given the keys to the company car. But, you have got to stop asking for them.
If you're in a culture that recognizes talent, you're going to be fine. If you're in a culture that doesn't recognize talent, there's nothing you can do to fight it besides getting bloody. You're still not getting the keys.
So, do exactly what you're told. And do it surprisingly great.
Alright my fellow males, it's time we stop buying anything but v-neck style white t-shirts.
All other t-shirt styles are unnecessary. Think about it.
When you're wearing a business shirt without a tie, you need the top button open, and you really don't want your high collared white t-shirt rim sticking out for the world to see. It cheapens the look.
So since the v-neck t-shirt style still works in a lounging day around your house, why would you buy the other kind?
Each year, Americans spend $50 billion on our pets, including food, veterinary care and more.
Do you know what else we could do with $50 billion a year? Pretty much anything great you could imagine.
A one-time cost of $30 billion could provide the entire world with access to clean drinking water.
$30 billion a year over just 10 years could create a sustainable solution that would virtually end world hunger.
I'm not saying you suck for having a pet. I equally suck for buying donuts. This is simply a fiscal example to help us understand our current spending priorities, as well as what we are capable of doing.
Currently, we value our pets over human suffering. That's the reality. But, maybe if we see these numbers, our reality starts to change?
Austin, Texas: "It's like a bunch of 17-year olds set out to create the coolest city ever, gave up after 2 blocks, and spent the rest of their lives doing drugs."
I apologize for the blog silence this week. I was down in Austin at a conference for work. But I'm back with a re-cap.
Austin was one of those places I always thought I might want to live - despite never having been there. And I was disappointed. But how can you not be - when you think it might be your Eden.
And that was my main takeaway from this weekend.
I met people from Canada. From Texas. From New York. From California. And no one was really happy with where they were.
Even the girl from Fresno, who's minutes from the ocean, and minutes from skiing in the mountains.She loved it. But talked about wanting to give Denver a try. Or maybe give Spokane a try.
The lesson I learned was that we will always be discontent, because this is not our home. And that's not saying we should settle where you are - but not to think a city alone can solve the discontent in our soul.