Carpe Diem, You Only Live Once, I Have Diarrhea… we hear the cliché slogans and see them tattooed in Arabic on the inside of people’s biceps all the time, but rarely do you meet someone who actually lives it.
The concept is pretty basic; work hard, take risks, and capitalize off of any opportunities life throws your way. Those who do are rewarded with success, peace of mind or – at the very least – the sweet release of death at an early age. Those who don’t end up living fairly decent lives on paper, but always struggle with the same regret that just seems to snowball as the years go by. Sucks, right? The good news is I’m not here to make you feel bad about your life decisions, I’m here to make you feel bad about mine. So sit back, relax, crack open a couple warm Natty Lights and enjoy some of my biggest regrets in life.
Russell Simmons In An Elevator
Five years ago, I used my first quarter-life crisis as an excuse to drop everything I know and love to drive cross-country and live in Los Angeles. We discussed this a little bit in episode #7 of the Rodkast but, truth be told, it was something I’d always wanted to try and a move that made sense for me at the time. Needless to say, LA’s a weird place. If you’ve never been, there are celebrities everywhere but you’re not supposed to acknowledge or bother them because it’s their natural habitat or something. So, for example, if you’re working out and Jeff Goldblum hops on the elliptical in front of you, you’re just supposed to act like that’s completely normal because any sort of reaction or human emotion is frowned upon. One day I was leaving that same gym, by myself, riding the elevator down to the parking garage when suddenly the elevator stops, doors open, and Russell Simmons walks in. If you don’t know who that is, Google him and you’ll understand why my back immediately started to sweat. He cofounded Def Jam, a music label with rappers like Jay-Z, Kanye West and Nas under their banner so, for a failed rapper like myself, this was a pretty big deal. So what’d I do? Did I hit the emergency stop button and spit the illest verse known to man? Did I strike up a conversation and pretend I was into bikram yoga to get on his good side? Did I hand him a business card? No. I f*cking froze. Not a single word. Once we got off the elevator I mustered up the courage to ask for a useless pic that got 7 likes on Instagram, but that was it.
Was there something I could’ve said or done to get him to sign me right there on the spot? Probably not. But I didn’t even try, I was too petrified to even throw something out there and it’ll haunt me forever.
“Is This Yours?”
I used to ride the Metro a lot back when I was way too young to be doing that. I think I was about 12 or 13 on my way to Franconia-Springfield to spend the weekend with my cousin during winter break. It was right after Christmas so I had a pocket full of cash that I was going to waste on king size Butterfingers and $7 sour straws from Blockbuster. All alone on the train, I was nervously looking straight ahead, pretending I was tougher than I actually was, listening to Hard Knock Life Vol. 2 on my Discman when a random dude walks up to me and asks “Is this yours?” I didn’t even look at him or his hands or try to figure out what he was talking about because I wanted it to end immediately, so I just said “No.” He gets off at the next stop and I could finally breathe because I guess that meant I wasn’t going to get raped or something. Fast forward 2 hours later, I get to my stop, cousin picks me up, drove straight to McDonalds and as I’m ordering my five McChickens with extra mayo I dig in my pockets and feel nothing but lint. The scary man on the train was trying to give me my money that fell out of my pocket and I wanted no part of it. Tough pill to swallow.
My Back & Forth w/ Fred Durst
Less than a month after playing the silent game with Russell Simmons in the elevator, Limp Bizkit frontman, Fred Durst, came into the restaurant I worked at to grab dinner with some mindless drone of a woman who didn’t speak much. Of course, he sat in my section but I had to keep it in my pants, respect the LA code and pretend I didn’t know exactly who he was. It actually went pretty well. After working in radio, I’d learned how to pretend to be normal when interacting with celebs and he was friendly, talkative, and probably enjoyed the fact that I didn’t bring up Limp Bizkit or music at all. He eventually finished his meal, got his tab, left a generous tip and went on his way. The missed opportunity came later that evening, after my first bottle of 7-Eleven pinot noir, when I started crafting different tweets to potentially send him to further the relationship. I think I said something along the lines of “Hey man, cool meeting you today, hope you dug the coconut gelato. Took some self-control not to run to my car and hand you a copy of my mixtape!” Just the graspiest, grasp of all graspy tweets that a waiter from an Italian restaurant could send a Grammy award-winning musician. Here’s the twist, he responded pretty much right away…
Only problem was I didn’t have a mixtape. In fact, I never had a mixtape. I had a couple songs and was working on putting something like that together, but that wasn’t going to be ready for months. So I just didn’t respond. He was probably just being nice, but he lobbed me a softball and I walked away from the plate because I wasn’t ready.
High School Hook Ups
I wasn’t exactly what you’d call a “ladies man” back in high school. I wasn’t a dork or anything like that but I went to 3 different schools in 4 years so I was always “the new kid” and I didn’t drink because I was a buzzkill and afraid of everything. Long story short, I was at some random house party, had never touched a boob and some girl who was too good-looking for me decided it was my lucky night. I knew this because, not only was she was laughing at all of my mediocre jokes, but she also told all my friends who agreed to kick my ass if I didn’t follow through. Later that night it was just me and her in some uninvolved parents basement on a couch with the lights off. She was very clearly the aggressor in this situation and I just wanted to talk because “I didn’t really know her” which is virgin speak for “I’m terrified.” Eventually it was 4am, the sun was coming up, light seeping through the windows and she’s seeing me for the coward that I was. Without even a kiss, we went our separate ways, never spoke again and she probably told all her friends that I was into dudes. Such is life.
Forrest Griffin Interview
Everyone’s heard of Mixed Martial Barts, right? The legendary 7-episode HD radio show I used to host that my family wouldn’t even listen to. One of the more memorable episodes was when I luck-boxed my way into an interview with former UFC Light Heavyweight champ, Forrest Griffin. I was excited, over-prepared, and ready to churn out another generic, 10min Q&A with a fighter who was actually kind of a big deal at the time. Midway through the interview I asked a question about his past fight with Anderson Silva which I guess struck a nerve, because he essentially said he wanted to kill me then hung up the phone.
Somehow, someway this interview got picked up by a couple MMA blogs out there. I think it was more because of something he said about Anderson Silva, but I’m not entirely sure. The one thing I do remember is being approached by a reputable MMA site to write a piece on the interview. My response? “I’m not really a writer, but I guess I can give it a shot if you want.” Never heard back from them again. Fake it till you make it, fam.