Wesley misses ignorance

I really miss the ignorance of childhood. Well maybe not childhood, let’s say youth.

Before I hit 22.

Here’s why I miss youth:


Those kids have it good.

They can think what they think and not feel bad about.

The ramifications of sitting out an election aren’t real. Not voting will minimally impact their on their daily lives, if at all.

Some of that is the locations where those people were interviewed. Some a general, youthful ignorance.

I sincerely miss that way of being.

When I first read that post, I could hardly contain my anger. But then I remembered my first two elections were essentially my mom making sure I had what I needed to vote absentee. I had no excuse to miss out. The envelopes were stamped (I think). I just had to make choices and drop it in the mail. Easy.

I’m pretty sure skipped the 2005 election. It didn’t matter. It wasn’t a big year. I listened to my elders and chose the lesser of two evils for the good of the world in 2004. We know how that went. When 2005 rolled around, I knew the system was rigged. I remember being in an electoral funk and thinking “why vote?”

You could pull up Kentucky voting logs and I don’t think you’d find my name.

In 2006, I was out of school and too depressed to do anything but work. I had a temporary job I could lose for any reason any day, no real prospects and I felt like I had pissed away my future. I don’t think I voted that year either and if I did, I don’t remember it.

I think I’ve made every election since 2007. I recall being so energized to make a difference after getting back into school, choosing to try to be a journalist and seeing hope in my own future. (Oh, 2008 will be the year no one forgot to vote people like me and I’m pretty sure I’ve voted ever since — Well maybe not. I did get something in the mail saying I didn’t vote in Pennsylvania  in 2014 and I honestly can’t remember if I voted absentee in Kentucky, so who knows?)

The point is as much as I care about the direction of this country and the decisions made by elected officials on all levels, I’ve missed elections to my knowledge. I’ve volunteered for campaigns, helped get people out to vote, canvassed, made phone calls and I’ve missed elections.

There is also a possibility I did vote in every election since turning 18 in 2003. The fact that I don’t remember it says something, possibly about me but also about how things go on after elections whether or not we like the results.

Either way, I know better and I do better. Why? Because there is no reason not to vote. It’s easy and it matters that you stay involved in the process.

I get that registration, disenfranchisement and general ignorance of the political process exist. That’s is a real systemic problem that has to change. *Stares at most of the South and the Republican controlled states that believe access to voting is a problem.* I’ll never be the guy that blames the oppressed for being stuck under the establishment’s thumb. And if you read that article, you’ll see that this isn’t the case with the people who were mulling whether to vote in the story at the top of the post. That was different and real privilege-y.

Oh well.

If you’re registered, go vote. Campaigns, political action committees, and ride sharing companies literally take people to the polls, websites have easily digestible information; all of the issues, talking points and debates are available digitally; and information can literally be found in the palm of your hand with that device you send emojis and with which take pictures of yourself constantly.

I hope you understand pushing so hard to get you to vote aren’t coming from a place of malice when they call you out and try to change your behavior. Some of them may have skipped a vote or can’t remember who they endorsed in a midterm election.





Categories: thoughts

I picked the wrong career

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.



Categories: thoughts

Correlation, causation and driving from Wesley’s perspective

03/14/2015 1 comment

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?


Read more…

Categories: thoughts

Wesley wouldn’t leave you without knowing what he would do

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.


Categories: thoughts

Labor Day Getaway

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:

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Categories: podcast, thoughts

Biding more time

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…

Categories: thoughts


Previously on WhatWouldWesleyDo: Podcast on hold, so how about a movie review?!

I’m back.

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:

Read more…

Categories: thoughts