Here's to you, Steve!

Here's to you, Steve!

During the past few weeks, network news stations and talk radio has spent much of its time discussing the recent string of deaths among our celebrities. Several famous people have passed on, most notably Michael Jackson.

But none are as tragic as the murder of former NFL quarterback Steve McNair and the sordid details that are constantly emerging on a daily basis.

Not too demean the other deaths, but they weren’t quite as shocking. Whereas the others died of old age, cancer or drug overdoses, McNair was shot to death by his mistress in the dead of night as he slept in his recliner. Soon after, his mistress took her own life. The circumstances surrounding McNair’s untimely demise are still quite unknown, but the facts seem to be that he was running around behind his wife and the killings were a murder-suicide.

From all accounts, McNair was a stand-up guy who gave back to his community. He was raised in small-town Mississippi and attended Alcorn State, a traditionally African-American school. During his time there, his football talents earned him the nickname “Air McNair” and the media flocked to his games to witness his awesome athletic ability. In doing so, he also did a lot for coverage of black colleges.

Throughout his NFL career, McNair was nothing short of the consummate teammate. He showed up early and left late during practice, was a leader by example and was the true definition of a warrior, often playing in games with several injuries. His only concern was to be on the playing field with his teammates, and not on the sidelines watching. He may have not been the sharpest passer or most elusive runner or the coolest cat on the turf, but players acrossed the league said there wasn’t a better teammate. His playing days were probably most defined by his late-game performance in the 2000 Super Bowl where he drove the Tennessee Titans to within one yard of the game-tying touchdown as time expired.

Off the field, McNair was a well-known personality in his small-town community and in Nashville as well. He loaded trucks full of relief items for Hurricane Katrina victims in 2004. Despite his recent indiscretions, he was known as a good family man who loved his four sons dearly. He was all about kids. He founded the Steve McNair Foundation (www.officialstevemcnair.com) with the mission for community awareness and helping local youth, and just this year solely funded three separate football camps. Since his retirement in 2008, McNair was working on plans to start a large farm just north of Nashville that concentrated on eco-friendly harvesting tactics and healthy food for children.

Of course the media chooses to dwell on the darker side of the story. Sex and murder sell, not community involvement.

Not to say McNair was perfect, as the details prove so. Theories behind the murder-suicide were that McNair was involved with another woman besides his mistress and his wife. Who knows if there was more to it besides a lover’s quarrel? No one will ever know the whole story. To me that’s a good thing.

But the fact of the matter is America lost another of its heroes in a tragic way.

R.I.P. Air McNair.

Advertisements

June 29, 2009

Is this a date or a job interview?

Is this a date or a job interview?

To me, it seems as though being single and being unemployed are pretty much two birds of the same feather.

If you think about it, the job search is much like the quest for the perfect mate. Your resume’ is like your initial appearance. As much information you can squeeze in on one, two or even three pages of a resume does not tell the whole story of your skills, talents and primary objectives. Same with how you appear to the girl (or guy) you might be after. You can dress down, or dress up, or just simply undress, but there is only so much one can say with that. Whereas they both convey general ideas of what you are about, it’s not quite like getting to know a person, where you can really dig deep into their personality and character and decide whether this person is someone you can see yourself with for an extended period of time.

Or if they are a disgusting creep that needs to be locked up.

(In my experiences, it is usually the latter more often than the former…)

During my job search in the past two weeks, I have sent out dozens of cover letters and resumes to potential ‘suitors’ across the city of Chicago. But no matter how many big words or action statements I can think of, how can anyone really know who I am by written word? Even if I am lucky enough to get a face-to-face interview, I feel as though I am on a first date with a woman. You get dressed up, drive to a strange location, greet the secretary and wait for your hopeful employer to call on you for the meeting, all the while the employees in the office give you the stink eye and stare like you are about to break into their homes and steal their dog.  Much like a date, the employer usually keeps you waiting for a few minutes, similar to sitting by yourself at the table while you wait for your companion to arrive.

(Is that guy eating by himself at this nice restaurant? What a loser…)

Once the meeting begins, you struggle to come up with the right thing to say to some of the most mundane and/or general questions, all the while questioning yourself with every reply. You order a steak, medium-rare. She tells you she is a vegetarian. Oh No!….Your heart races, your hands tremble, your back sweats…

Was that the right thing to say? Am I smiling enough? Is she interested at all?

Should I tell her that I like to collect garbage pail kids??

After your time is up, it is now time for the awkward goodbye. You’re not quite sure if you have made the impression you hoped to make, but you have to make do with the events that have just transpired. Do you get a second interview (date)? Most likely not. She is smiling at you but you can’t tell if its genuine or forced. You say your goodbyes and you get the awkward hug with the ass out and the friend-pat on the back. Ugh…

“We’ll call you if we would like to set up another interview…”

It looks like it’s back to the old drawing board.

The Windy City in all its glory

The Windy City in all its glory

Life is full of hard decisions. From what to wear, and what to eat, to whether or not you think Stan Van Gundy might in fact actually be Ron Jeremy, every day is filled with constant conundrums. This past week, I made one of the toughest choices of my life when I decided to leave Charleston for Chicago. After spending nearly five years in the Holy City, the itch to move on to attempt to better my life got the best of me and I was forced to scratch it. That’s not to say I didn’t enjoy my time in Charleston or that I wasn’t happy with my surroundings. It’s clearly the class of the South, from its thriving tourism industry,endless history and amazing dining and nighlife, to its beaches, swamps, golf courses and of course, women as hot as train smoke. But what made Charleston so tough to leave behind was the amazing people that I encountered and bonded with during my time there. The city itself can be a little closed-minded about certain individuals from certain northern areas of the country and it did take me a few months to crack the shell and get into the inner circles, but once I made connections, I found out how truly wonderful the city and its citizens can be. Being a mecca for the aforementioned traits, people from all over the country flock to this city and make it their home. Its a virtual cornocupia of personalities and characters. I was immediately drawn to that wandering soul spirit that I saw in many of the people I came across in my time there. But as I grew older and started to ‘settle down’, I realized the city lacked any type of career that I might be interested in or would suit me for my near and distant future. Aside from lawyers, doctors, real estate agents and professional f and b’ers, there wasn’t really much to offer the single mid-20s male as far as employment was concerned. I turned my attention back to the North and the thriving metropolis of Chicago. Having grown up in Michigan, I also thought of Chicago as a second home. I can remember my first trip into the Windy City as a young man and being instantly swept up by the constant bustle of activity, the breathtaking skyscrapers and the ability to have whatever you want right at your doorstep. I’ve wanted to live here ever since then, and this seemed to be the time to make that dream happen. With my time in Charleston coming to a close like a sunset over Lake Michigan, and the lure of several family members and close friends who have made Chicago their home offering me their support, it was an easy choice to make. But it also proved to be an extremely difficult one to follow through with. It took me four days just to get the stones to turn in my letter of resignation at work. Leaving was extremely rough both mentally and emotionally, but as I have spent the last 24 hours here in my new home, I feel that the right choice was made, even if it wasn’t the easiest. Many friends and colleagues extended well-wishes and kind thoughts before my departure, but I told most of them this: This is not a good-bye, this is a see you later. So to all my brethern in Charleston I left behind (and to those hot, hot women), take care, God Bless….and….see you later.