One of the older guys I play basketball with at the local YMCA always gives me hell when I yawn, say I’m tired, or don’t feel like playing.
I’m 31 and in the midst of a physical decline that is wearing me down at the core. It’s difficult to stay motivated some days as a result. I can’t jump anymore, I don’t run very fast, or move as quickly as I used to or am use to. (Also, my hair is turning gray rapidly and betraying my youthful face). This older guy — let’s call him Carl — is 62 going on 63 and apparently plays basketball at least twice a week. Carl is pretty good for his age and looks at least 10 years younger than he actually is. He also has sons my age so I get why he won’t suffer my tired excuses.
Well, the other day I didn’t really feel like playing ball at all, but force of habit had me out on the court. I mentioned that I didn’t have energy to play and he starts to tell me why I shouldn’t be tired, that I’m a young whippersnapper, and so on. He always likes to remind me how old he is, but this time when he mentioned his age, I asked him if he had retired or was looking forward to it?
“I’d be crazy to retire at this point,” he said. Carl tells me he makes pretty good money, adding that his work isn’t too terribly difficult. He also threw in that his mom is 84 and still working, so he has no excuses.
I then ask what he does, and he says he oversees mortgage brokering for some company in its East Coast operation. Because I have no problem with asking questions people typically won’t, I more about his job, including where he worked before. The guy tells me the name and I think, “he’s doing pretty well for himself.”
The next part of the conversation, which was completely and totally unsolicited, made me feel like the colossalest failure ever: Carl says he retired from his previous job, but was asked to come work for his current company shortly after said retirement. He really didn’t want to be working so he made an absurd counteroffer to his now employer thinking they wouldn’t match it.
Well they did. Guess how much the offer was for?
He told me he asked for $150,000 — more than what he was making before, and got it.
I’ve had to negotiate salaries a few times for work. Usually it’s a couple of thousand dollars or so and that’s it. No wiggle room. This guy is negotiating for a yearly pay bump above an offer that was more than he had been making before “retiring,” which is not a whole lot less than the entire sum of money I’ve made in my life (if you know me, while I haven’t had the highest paying jobs, I’ve made money for a long time and didn’t have that period of unemployment that lots of college students experience).
I ask Carl what he went to school for and he lays out his impressive education resume. He’s earned what he his salary, no doubt. I could barely do calculus in high school, he has a master’s in engineering and can do more math than 20 of me. Beyond that he’s got credentials in financing from one of the best business schools in the country.
I should have went into a more lucrative field. But since it’s too late for that, I can be happy about the fact I can interact with people and learn their stories, both for work and in my free time.
One of the things I love about playing basketball with older guys is getting to know them and see how they live their lives. Before I moved to Pennsylvania, I played basketball at the Beaumont YMCA in Lexington and had similar types of conversations after hooping at 5:30 a.m. Those talks were way more valuable than the sleep I skipped and eventual joint pain I’ll enjoy.
I’ve always loved basketball and still love to play it, but it’s not about the game anymore. Just seeing how the train conductor, barber, tennis coach, attorney, army recruiter, restaurant general manager, pro football player, and all of the other professions mix on the court is special. These interactions between games and sometimes at lunch or dinner afterwards is even more meaningful than the enjoyment I get from probably my favorite sport.
Previously on WhatWouldWesleyDo: Wesley wouldn’t leave you without knowing what he would do
So last night I was out with some coworkers and a change of venue left me the driver for the group. We walked to my car, hopped in and I embarked on the 5-minute excursion.
About 30 seconds from our destination, I see the dreaded American flag police car light salute that means I need to be prepared to have my ID, registration and proof of insurance ready to go. Two officers get out of the car, one for each side of the vehicle and I’m asked to provide said documentation.
The officers take my information, go back to the car and return it with very little conversation other than asking where we are from and how long I’ve been in Pennsylvania?
Previously on WhatWouldWesleyDo: Labor Day Getaway
It’s been 2½ years since I last blogged for my own personal site. Why am I back now? Fairly simple: I’m alone.
I live in a city away from everything I know. All I do is work, run, play basketball, eat, sleep, watch sports, movies, anime, and shop. It isn’t an unpleasant existence, but it definitely isn’t peachy.
So now I’m trying to recover my sanity and this blog again seemed like a good idea.
I’ll go back to being the guy who posts his random thoughts, but I also plan to be more focused and measured. A multitude of things have been on my mind and I haven’t really had a way or place to share them. I’ve been bottling up so much since I left Kentucky from a farewell piece I’ve penned in my mind, to thoughts about national issues and big stories. I’ve been silent for too long on a lot of stuff.
I can’t go back to blogging as regularly as I did before because I’m much less self-involved (I think :/) and I don’t have the time. I do want to do this at least once every week or so to get some things out and maybe reconnect with people on some level.
I’m no longer concerned with whether people read or who sees this (I have to care so much about hits for work, it doesn’t matter what happens with the blog), so I’m hopeful that in seeing an unpackaged, unguarded Wesley, you’ll understand a little better about me. Apparently, if I do more thoughtful and open pieces, it’s supposed to help whoever reads it too, so I’m going to pretend like this isn’t just about me on that level, too.
Most posts will probably be short like this, but I’ve got at least three worked out in my head that will take half an hour to read, if you have the time that is.
And with that I’m back.
Previously on WhatWouldWesleyDo: Biding more time
Because it’s a holiday and I don’t like working on holidays I will be brief. Check out my new blog Everyday Journalism, if you already haven’t.
I will post something new today about a provocative, riveting topic of my choice and you need to read it.
Also, we are still catching you up on the podcast so here is episode five:
Previously on WhatWouldWesleyDo: Back!!
I should be posting regularly so soon it hurts. Till then here’s another mega dated episode of the podcast…
Well wait, in the interest of branding, I’ll tell you about my new blog first. It’s a lot more focused, structured and sensical (and it’s for a grade) so I will have to post more frequently for that particular blog. It’s a journalism blog designed to explain reporting tips, journalism ideals and principles, and media interpretation, in order to help educate readers on what it is they are ingesting.
It seems like a pretty good undertaking, because I haven’t found anything exactly like it and apparently blogs can help people get jobs. Anyways, check it out: everydayjournalism.wordpress.com. It is boring and plain right now, but I’ll add some life to it as things smooth out.
What is colorful, fun and riveting is the podcast… make sure you hop on that ASAP, STAT and all those other quick acronyms: Read more…
Previously on WhatWouldWesleyDo: Podcast on hold, so how about a movie review?!
Through a series of events, including being laid off, I’ve ended up back in school as a journalism student at Eastern Kentucky University and am required to write a lot. I’ll refer you all to my blog for that when the time comes, but in the mean time, I’ll post here some so I can be non sequitur to life without anyone bothering me/being graded on it.
But we need to start with baby steps, so here’s episode three of the BSHU Alumni podcast. I’ll post one a day until we are caught up and in the meantime check me out on twitter along with my wonderful and diligent c-host @PopeSnogginheim. (That was an incredibly patronizing way to describe the Pope, but I’m not creative today).
Anyways, welcome back and here you go… a new (to you) podcast:
Previously on WhatWouldWesleyDo: Another Podcast down!
I’m almost there. Just wait. I’ll surprise you soon with something big. Until then, enjoy the blog and the podcast, whenever we get it back…
Long story short, @PopeSnogginheim and I are not very coordinated or forward thinking with a podcast and we have no more bandwidth to publish our musings. We will be back up by the end of the week, but in the meantime, we are dead — podcastically. We shall be resurrected, but in the mean time, I saw the movie Contraband.
More or less it was entertaining, but I wouldn’t guarantee you’ll enjoy it. Contraband‘s has good intentions are no match for the basket full of plot twists the movie tries to force into an hour and fifteen minutes. Trying to combine every movie of it’s genre into one is nice, but everyone is better served if a movie has only 18% ADD. Between that and how hard the movie tries to pack plot twists and a bunch of other crap into a little basket, it’s lacks the freshness of what it sets out to be.
Visually it’s pretty well done. I’m not a huge expert on cinematography, but some of the footage and angles are dope or something (*shots fired at hipster film fans*). Read more…