An expression that refers to effort, and how much a person gives of themselves. Instead of fighting and battling against something, isn’t it easier to just “dial it in” with minimal or no effort?
I can’t do that. Never could.
My problem many times, is giving TOO MUCH and OVERREACHING. Sounds weird, but that’s how I am hard-wired. Sounds OK, always giving 200% effort, right? Not exactly. Some things require finesse and precision, and you just can’t overwork them. It came to me early in my life, the value of hard work and how it helped define a person. I would still rather be giving more than less, but that is more of an instinct than anything.
I used to tell my little Pee-Wee (8-9 year-olds) football players: “You are all young and full of fire, but we all have days where we don’t have 100% to give. So, if you had a problem at school or at home, maybe a fight with your brother or sister, and you only have 90% left in the tank, give me all 90%.” I sure loved those little kids.
I have written about my childhood growing up in a small Japanese village. I still claim my first “job” was as a wood loader for a local papa-san. My second job was as a retail merchant. I’m an “idea guy,” or at least I fancy myself as such. I am always coming up with world-changing products and services that have already been invented. So I got the brilliant idea to transform an old wooden shed in our back yard into a profit machine. My pal and I spent all day cleaning out the shed. Next came the issue of inventory; adhering to the basic concept of capitalism (buy low-sell high), the “idea guy” decided we would go to our respective homes and find things to sell in our new business venture. You don’t have to graduate from Wharton to know that 100% profit is a good thing.
Our business was booming.
So pan to my mother, a very proper woman, and she is having a lovely lunch with one of the other American families in our compound. I guess everything was great up to the point where my mom was served her dessert course with her own silverware and china. That seminal event signaled the end of my budding retail empire. It was punctuated with an ass-whipping I’m sure.
In my book under the letter “X” I write:
“Xenophobic is a fear or hatred of others than yourself. I contend there is some self-loathing involved as well. Before one can accept the unknown or unconventional, one must be totally secure in who one is and what the belief structure looks like. Fodder for yet another of my favorite rants denigrating the ethnocentric, the bigoted, and the biased. This condition affects every human being in every corner of the globe.
I like the pink, cherry Sour Tarts the best, so I too am biased. I still swell with pride at the sight of our flag furling in the desert wind, or while the national anthem plays, which are ethnocentric, by now Pavlovian, reactions for which I offer no apologies. I do love our country with all her faults. Ethnocentrism cloaked under the guise of nationalism.
I wish I could say I have never been bigoted or exhibited such behavior in my life. I have been the giver and receiver of such behavior and both memories elicit shame so I prefer not to go there. Ever. I have grown to be a better person than I was which is all any of us can do. Get better. Be better tomorrow than you were today. As I approach my own denouement, time becomes even more valuable, so be better this afternoon than I was this morning.
For too long in my own life I disassociated myself from the rest of humanity, a long period of personal darkness that embarrassingly, included my own family members.
We’ll slip, we’ll fall, but at that juncture what are your options?
Quit. Fuck it. Or you pick yourself up and keep fighting the good fight. It is a fight we will never win but as long as you are fighting, you are winning.”