Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Another Misguided Concept

Admit it – you don’t think I can pull it off, do you?  Well, it’s Day 2 of what I’m now referring to as Nut Up or Shut Up Week at Club Trillion and here I am.  In case you were wondering, I am actually writing all of these blogs posts the same day that I publish them, so don’t think that I wrote a bunch of these and stockpiled them just so I could just sit back and make it seem like I’m working diligently (I really am working diligently, dammit!).  Also, even though it may seem like this week is all about me giving back to the Trillion Man March or something, the truth is that I’m much more selfish than that.  The sole purpose of this week is to get me to stop being so lazy and to give myself the kick in the pants that I kinda need right now, which is ironic since had I not issued this challenge to myself in the first place there’s a solid chance I wouldn’t have even put pants on at all this entire week (another irony: this last sentence discussed both pants and irony and sometimes I iron my pants before I put them on!!!).

Anyway, for Day 2 I’ve decided to write about something I’ve been giving some thought to for a little while and was just reminded of this past weekend when I went back to Indiana and stayed in my hometown for a few days.  Now, I’ve mentioned Brownsburg a time or two on this blog before, but in case you missed it or don’t remember what the town is like, just imagine your stereotypical suburban town and that’s pretty much it.  There’s really nothing all that special about the place (save the Little League World Series appearances in 1999 and 2001 and the fact that Gordon Hayward of the Utah Jazz, Drew Storen of the Washington Nationals, and Lance Lynn of the St. Louis Cardinals all graduated from BHS within a few years of each other), but there is at least one thing about Brownsburg that I’ve yet to see duplicated anywhere else, and that one thing is the unprecedented amount of adolescent loitering. Yes, loitering (loitering…and smoking the reefer).

Forgive me for sounding like a grumpy old geezer, but every time I go back to my hometown, there always seems to be a ridiculous amount of 12-15 year old dudes just hanging out everywhere throughout the town.  They never have any sort of agenda and seem like they’re just really bored and want to get out of their houses cause their moms are strung out on drugs and their dads are alcoholics who beat them or something.  No matter the day of the week or the time of day, it always seems like there are kids hanging out at the grocery stores, the bowling alley, the Wal-Mart, the movie theater, both of the McDonald’s (don’t want to brag or anything but yeah, Brownsburg’s got two), and even the liquor stores.  It’s like a gay pedophile’s paradise seeing as how the entire town is crawling with 12-15 year old boys.

Now, using my own adolescence as a template, I originally thought that these kids were at the grocery stores to MILF hunt, were at the bowling alley to hit on girls their own age, were at the Wal-Mart to commit petty theft, were at the movie theater to sneak into some terrible (probably Tyler Perry) movie and get a handy in the back row, were at the Mickey D’s to get free food from their friends who work there, and were at the liquor stores to try to get someone who is 21 to score some booze for them.  But I’ve observed these kids enough to know that they aren’t doing any of that (um, I swear I observed them for research purposes for this blog post and not some other reason). 

Instead, they’re just hanging out by the entrances of all these places and are talking amongst themselves, presumably about how big of a bitch their English teacher is or how badly they want to see that Kelly chick’s boobs.  More often than not, they never actually go into the establishment that they’re hanging out by and instead just get in everyone’s way since they’re sitting right by the entrance, which is why these kids annoy me so much.  Also, without fail there is always at least one kid in the group who has a skateboard with him.  And that’s what got me thinking.

Because of the kid in the group with a skateboard, I’ve noticed that I’ve developed a bit of a disdain for all kids who skateboard, primarily because I’m a stereotyping ass.  Having said that, though, I don’t have a blanket hatred for all skateboarders, as I actually think pro skateboarders are pretty badass and enjoy watching them do their thing during the X Games every summer.  I’m a big fan of Tony Hawk, Rob Dyrdek, and Jason Ellis in particular, and anyone who knows anything about me knows that just thinking about Rune Glifberg doing a Christ Air on Tony Hawk Pro Skater makes my nipples rock hard.  I really do enjoy skateboarding, but thanks to these kids who loiter with their skateboards at popular places in my hometown and annoy me to no end, I only like pro skateboarding and kinda think that all non-pro skateboarders are crusty tampons.

After giving it some thought, I realized that skateboarding isn’t the only thing that I feel this way about.  There seem to be a handful of skills/activities that I think to myself, “That guy’s a douche” if I see someone doing the activity recreationally or as just a hobby or something, but also think, “That guy’s a total badass” when I see an expert doing the exact same thing.  Obviously this is somewhat hypocritical thinking since it’s impossible for someone to become an expert at something without being a novice first, so it’s stupid to rag on young skateboarders because Tony Hawk was once a novice too. 

With that in mind, this is more of an observation of my own flawed thought process than anything else.  So if you do any of the activities that I’m going to mention in a little bit as a hobby, please don’t take this the wrong way and think that I think you’re an idiot for what you choose to do with your free time.  I’m not trying to tell you how to live your life.  I’m instead just basically pointing out how messed up my logic is (although, my guess is that a lot of you feel the same way about a few of these things so really it’s more of me pointing out how messed up everyone’s logic is).

Now that we got that disclaimer out of the way, let’s take a look at my list of the nine things other than skateboarding for which I think novices are losers but experts are badasses.  Before we do, though, I should address the fact that you might be thinking that this criteria applies to all activities.  You might be saying to yourself, “But of course you think novices suck and experts are awesome.  That’s because novices are novices and experts are experts.  That’s how everything works.”  My response to this is well, not necessarily.  Here’s a chart that provides some examples and shows the difference between a few separate activities.

novice vs expert chart

If you play pick-up basketball but aren’t that good, nobody is going to look down on you or judge you or anything (I mean that they won’t judge you for the decision to play basketball – if they make fun of you, it’s because you are atrocious and can’t even hit the rim and not because of what you choose to do as a hobby).  Meanwhile, video games are something that are almost better to not be that good at.  It’s cool to play video games with your friends every now and then, but when you become an expert at a particular game, people think you’re a complete loser who never leaves your house (this explains the genesis of Nut Up or Shut Up Week).  And poor Magic: The Gathering players – no matter how good or bad you might be, the mere fact that you’re playing it at all kinda makes you a loser.

So now that you see the difference, keep in mind that we’re concerned with just that fourth case on the chart.  I’ll provide my list, but part of the reason I wrote about this is because I want some input from the Trillion Man March.  I know that there are some things I didn’t think of, which is why I’m hoping some of you will email me with examples you come up with.  Anyway, here’s my list:

Martial Arts

I guess MMA guys could also kinda be grouped in with this, but here I really mean guys who do karate or judo or taekwondo or whatever else they teach at your local dojo.  Just think for a second how you’d react if you found out your friend goes to karate class every Thursday night versus how you’d react if you found out your friend was a black belt in karate.  I don’t know about you, but I’m equal parts jealous and terrified of anyone who has a black belt in any of the martial arts, which might explain why I make fun of people who take martial arts classes and aren’t yet black belts.  Maybe I’m just getting in my licks while I feel like I still can since once they get black belts they’d be able to mutilate me without even breaking a sweat (yes, I’m aware that even non-black belts could still have their way with me).


I know some people probably think ventriloquists fall into that Magic: The Gathering group in that no matter how good or bad they are, they’re still kind of weird for doing it at all.  But there’s something about good ventriloquism that I appreciate.  I really shouldn’t have to defend myself, but I offer this example as one bit of evidence why I am sometimes jealous of and thoroughly entertained by ventriloquists.


It’s been brought to my attention that some people don’t know what Parkour is, so if you’re included in this group, watch this video and get up to speed.  I might be alone in this, but the first time I watched that, my jaw would have dropped all the way to the ground had my fully erect penis not stopped it first.  Some of the stuff on there completely blows my mind and makes me wonder exactly how someone practices that stuff….

…which brings me to the homeless man I saw in downtown Los Angeles a couple of months ago who was apparently trying to run up walls.  Now, there’s a good chance this guy was just high on LSD, but I’m going to give him the benefit of the doubt and assume that he was actually just trying to practice some Parkour, because he also jumped over a few benches and twirled himself around a street sign.  Up until that point, I had always assumed that all Parkour was sweet, but then I saw this homeless man faceplant after he tried to jump over a bike rack and I realized that for as cool as the Parkour experts are, the Parkour novices are exactly that uncool.

Freestyle Rapping

There’s this guy and then there’s Tom Green and Xzibit.  I think those two videos prove my point for me.

(If you didn’t click the links, I should mention that the video that I linked to as the good example probably isn’t the one that you thought was going to be the good one.)


Obviously there’s nothing wrong with being able to make a good meal for yourself, so don’t think I’m picking on you if you regularly cook.  I’m more concerned with the guys like Randy Marsh from the “Crème Fraiche” episode of South Park.  You know, guys who own all sorts of utensils (and probably don’t know what most of them do), obsess over cooking shows, are always on the hunt for good recipes, and think they’re gourmet chefs just because they can make a casserole.

Actual gourmet chefs, on the other hand, are doing the Lord’s work.  I fully respect people who can make elaborate and delicious meals, to the point that the rare times I eat at a nice restaurant, I typically don’t enjoy the meal as much as I should because I’m too busy envying the chef and hating myself for not knowing how to make anything more than a ham sandwich.


This is pretty self-explanatory. I hate to be the one to tell you this, but your cheesy uncle who thought he was awesome when he would pretend to pull his thumb off or find a quarter behind your ear whenever he saw you at family reunions was actually a complete loser. Conversely, this is kind of badass.

Doing Drugs

This one is a little different than all the others in that I personally never get jealous of someone because they do drugs (just say no, kids).  But I still thought I should include it because there are enough examples of people who I think are pure badass primarily because of the boatloads of drugs they did or still do.  Plus, I think the juxtaposition of a looking down on the stereotypical meth head high school dropout and idolizing the stereotypical rock star who shoots up in his trailer before and/or after playing to a packed house is interesting.

Sure there are exceptions and not everyone who does a ton of drugs is awesome (Lindsay Lohan), but guys like Hunter S. Thompson, Charlie Sheen (I know he’s become a cliché at this point and has kind of run his course, but less than six months ago the guy was on fire), and handfuls of pro wrestlers leave me no choice but to tip my hat to them simply because their ability to consume enough drugs to take down even the huskiest of Michigan cheerleaders is pretty impressive to me in some strange way.


The kids who spray paint random lines on alleyways and the sides of trains are undoubtedly complete twats, but after watching Exit Through the Gift Shop, I can’t help but think that guys like Banksy and Shepard Fairey rule (if Exit Through the Gift Shop was a hoax, that only makes me respect Banksy that much more since he was able to dupe so many people).


Anybody who has spent any time on a college campus has seen the guy who knows two or three chords and sits in a grassy area on campus (usually with his shirt off), strums his guitar, and throws lyrics to a popular song over top of some guitar playing that in no way matches the actual song.  This is the novice I’m talking about, not people like me who tried to teach themselves how to play guitar (but failed miserably) in the privacy of their own homes (of course I’m not talking about me – I have to find a way to save face, after all).  And really, you don’t even have to be an expert at guitar for me to think you’re awesome.  So long as you can actually play the thing and aren’t just trying to give the impression that you know how to play, you’re cool in my book.  It’s the dude with his shirt peeled who is desperate for attention and bought a guitar just because he thought chicks would like him more that needs a swift kick to the taint.

I think I might make my blog post for Friday a mailbag post, but that depends mostly on whether or not I get any good emails between now and then, so if you have anything to ask or tell me, send it to me in the form of an email and I’ll respond to it for all the world to see.  I know Simmons is in the midst of his “Summer of Mailbag” over at Grantland, so after you’re done complaining about how I’m copying him and after you’re done sulking over the fact that he didn’t include your email in his mailbag column from last week, send your rejected email my way and I’ll take care of you.

And don’t forget to do your homework tonight and send me any ideas you came up with for what I discussed with this post.  If I get some good ones, I’ll post them at the end of the blog entries throughout the week and give you a shoutout, which will in turn surely result in at least 2 or 3 Facebook friend requests you wouldn’t have otherwise received.

As always, if your ideas suck please keep them to yourselves.


Proud To Be An American But Even Prouder To Be A Buckeye,

Mark Titus

Club Trillion Founder