This, for me, is one of the all time great disappointing posts I’ve ever written- not because it sucks, it’s in the upper middle section of all time posts- because I wrote this post well over a year ago, and, incredibly satisfied with what a great article I’d put together, I went to post it, only to find that there was a network timeout and almost nothing was saved. So I wrote as much as I could remember, and saved it as a draft, too disappointed to continue. But Sunday night, I was watching television, and I was inspired to complete it, as you’ll see below. Thanks for your patience. -JP
I know that I’ve (if you are a loyal reader- if I have any readers at all left out there) tried to avoid using ‘don’t’s’ and ‘no’s’ and other such negative language, but at times, it’s unavoidable. So forgive me the title of this step, and accept that it’s an important one.
“Always do sober what you said you’d do drunk.
That will teach you to keep your mouth shut.”
Hemingway said that in what I’m sure was a classic case of the Fear. But it sort of adds to my point, and, since we’re on the topic of Manly Men (We’re always on the topic of Manly Men), one needs look no further than Ernest Miller. He makes a point which I will lead to my own, corrupting his only slightly-
My point is this- it does no one good for you to say anything you can’t back up. I’m not saying that you shouldn’t talk trash if the situation calls for it, but there is a difference between calling someone an ineffectual, priveleged, effete, soft-penised, debutant, and, as the Fucking Lizard King, being able to back it up, and telling a stadium full of people and a couple million at home that you ‘want the ball, we’re gonna score’, and following that up with an interception returned for a game ending touchdown.
A famous screenwriting (and maybe writing in general) adage is, ‘show, don’t tell.’ Think of action movies- there are many, where the protagonist is a professional- assassin, kung-fu expert, amazingly badass cop- and the first scene of the film is him showing off his incredible prowess in some sort of fight sequence not related to the main plot. They aren’t reading his dossier saying, ‘He killed ten men in Siam and stopped the nuclear threat in Chechneya’, the guy who wrote the movie is showing you just how good his main character is.
And this applies to real life- someone telling you they are cool under pressure is absolutely meaningless. In my favorite Men’s Magazine segment, ‘What I’ve Learned‘, from Esquire, the legendary Laird Hamilton said this-
‘The Genghis Khan warriors used to have a rule that you never talked about injury. The way it translates for me is: Don’t train for what you don’t want to have happen. It’s like this: People say, “Oh, I can hold my breath for five minutes.” I say, “I wouldn’t be working on that because that might be something that you get tested on.”‘
Now this is something I’ll extrapolate on later, but his point, for me, is this: If you say you can do something extraordinary, you might be called on to do it during extraordinary times, so it’s great that you can hold your breath for five minutes in the shallow end of your parents’ backyard pool, but when would that be a useful skill except when you’re needed to hold your breath for five minutes? When the adrenaline is coursing through you, causing your heart to beat faster and burn more oxygen? When you’ve got to navigate the smoke filled hallways of a burning building, or swim beneath the waves to someone caught down there? Are these likely scenarios? Fuck no. But that’s not the point, and I hope I was able to convey that. The point is, it’s only a good skill to have if you can do it when it matters, and if you can tell people you can do it, they will expect you to be able to do it…when it matters.
So anyway, I’ve started to ramble, but I’ll wrap this up with the reason I kicked this post back into gear. I have been watching this season’s The Ultimate Fighter. Spoilers ahead. It’s co-ed this season, and the first fight was between a veteran of Women’s MMA, Shayna Baszler, and a younger fighter, Julianna Pena. During the weigh in, right before they do the square off pose, Shayna takes a Queen of Spades, and sticks it to the chest of Julianna. Julianna throws it down without looking and they do their pose. Well, apparently Shayna’s nickname (self given) is the Queen of Spades, and it represents death in whatever social circle she grew up in, so to the viewers watching know that it’s a pretty huge insult toward Julianna, and I’m sure she realizes it, too.
And then Julianna kicks the living shit out of her in the fight. It was about as one sided as it gets- Julianna was pissed, and Shayna, after three punches crushed her face in the first five seconds of the fight, looked only scared.
After the trouncing, Shayna is out in the hallway, very upset, and saying how long she worked for this, and how much of a better fighter she is than the younger Julianna. But herein lies the point of this article- it didn’t matter. Talk all you want about your training and experience, and do your petty posturing with your card, but once you’re in the ring, none of that shit matters. Shut the fuck up and fight. As Shayna learned, she probably should have just said nothing. Based off of her talk and her experience, her coach was the one that picked the matchup.
As usual, I’ll let someone who said it better sum it up for me (forgive me the weird guy talking over some of the clip, I couldn’t find a better one)-