Don’t Cry Over Unfulfilled Potential

Can you see me in Centerfield? Nope, because you can’t see Centerfield.

I am not blogging naked today. Confession, I don’t blog naked…often. Really you could say that I do it…almost never.

Used to have an English teacher who would go ballistic if we used Almost Never in any of our written work. I almost never ignored her rules, except for when I would ask questions. If I had a question I liked to begin by saying, “Mrs. Hackleshmackle, I almost never ask questions…..” She loved me more than most teachers and less than a few others.

Don’t ask me to explain what that means or why I do what I do when I do it because I almost never give you a straight answer. Or is it because I almost never make up an answer. Hell, I can’t remember. The other day I was guilty of messing with a commenter at Scary Mommy’s place. She said that when you speak to children you should make a point to not use the word “because” when you tell why they should or shouldn’t do something.

So I told them they are wrong…”because.”

Yes it was obnoxious and juvenile, but sometimes I am both of those things. Want to know why? Because.

Ok, that is not really true. I am almost never obnoxious and juvenile.

Words With Friends

Lately I have been getting my ass kicked by my friends and their fucking words. It irks me. I am a writer who has a massive vocabulary. That is not bragging, it is fact. I almost never get stumped for what word to use and yet these people and their little tricks are killing me. Double and triple words and all sorts of other crap keep beating my ass.

It bothers me.

Why?

Because.

I Could Have Been A Contender

I am listening to the soundtrack to The Dark Knight now. It is in a word…awesome. I suspect that the edgy feeling it creates is feeding the edge and giving me a bigger attitude. Jason and or Erin said that when I write with rage it is better. I take that to mean that they like the angry Jack better than kinder, softer daddy Jack.

So a thousand years ago I was a kid who loved to play baseball. I was good. Led the league in home runs a couple of times. Could run and field with the best of them. Had one hell of an arm, probably still do.

Was certain that I would grow up to play centerfield for the Dodgers. It didn’t happen or did it. That is the beauty of being a writer. I can pretend that it did. I can write one hell of a story about my career. I almost never talk about my career here.  Want to know why?

Because.

Because, My Kids & Potential

My children are among the most articulate kids you’ll meet. Damn if I didn’t help spawn two natural orators who can talk your ears off. Granted Old Jack the keyword stuffing daddy blogger is a mite biased, but they are smart.

How do I know this? Because I am smarter than most people and they are smarter than I am. Damn Dark Knight music is really making me pour on the snark and sarcasm. Not just here but elsewhere.

I talk to the children about potential. I want them to understand that my goal for them is to help them fulfill their potential. The hard part for me sometimes is trying to find the balance between pushing really hard and not hard enough.  You see one of the challenges of being a parent is not turning your issues into issues for your children and unfulfilled potential is one that chaps my hide.

That is because I think I have fallen short a few times. I think I have made my life harder because I didn’t do a couple of things and I don’t want that for them. I really don’t have many regrets but those I do are massive.

Don’t want to focus on them. Don’t want to get lost chasing ghosts of people and places that are dead. I want to take those experiences and suck the life out of them. I want to live intentionally and purposefully. I want to focus on what I learned and use that to live my dreams. I want to take that experience and use it to help the children live their dreams.

Books and Newsletters

I need to carve out a bit more time to finish writing my books. I need to finish them because I need to finish them. It just has to happen because it bothers me that it hasn’t. But there is a difference between want and will. Want is something that has no deadline whereas will sets a date. There is a date for the books, they will happen.

The newsletter refers to the newsletter I have started here. People are subscribing but I haven’t produced the first edition yet. Haven’t done it because I wanted to reach a certain number of subscribers first.  Since it seems like it is going to take a bit longer to hit 156,983 subscribers I think that I need to adjust my schedule and produce the first edition.

The reason why is simple…because. Truthfully there are other reasons but it is late and I almost never get to bed before 1 AM so tonight we are going to make it happen.

Thank you again to our servicemen and their families. I appreciate your sacrifices and am grateful for them. Happy Memorial Day to all.

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Comments

  1. that was fun! even though most of the time you just keep talking like blah blah blah. But i like it because. lol. Because it feels common. Ordinary. familiar. and just because. haha. hope you get it. You have this way with words. and it taste good.

  2. Oh, dear, I had to go over to Scary Mommy and now I am more than ever convinced I did the best thing not to mingle with all the professional mothers in the park when my daughter was young. This is insane! And how logical CJ is with her advice of you should maybe tray not to have so many children …
     
    And when somebody wishes you a WONDERFUL day whilst she would prefer to off you, well, what is this? I cannot stand righteous people. 
     
    There is so much in your post, maybe even a book if you want it or will it? My first thought was: I would love my daughter to read this regarding pushing but I decided against it. Because … she has always done things her own way.
     
    Have a wonderful week, Barbara
     

    •  @Late_Bloomers Hi Barbara,
       
      Most of the people I mix with at Scary Mommy are pleasant and easy to deal with. Every now and then you run into someone who thinks it is there job to correct and the discipline the rest of us. Since I am incorrigible it is not something I worry about. 😉
       
      Every time I write I hope to create a book or tale that people will love and read repeatedly. Based upon our time together I am guessing that your daughter is another wonderful person who has a zest for life. 
       
      That is a good thing. I like individuals who don’t mind thinking and doing on their own.

  3. Michael Wilts says

    I think the word potential is subject to interpretation and is hypothetical in nature. 
     
    Look in the dictionary and find the synonyms associated with potential and you’ll find words such as hypothetical, conceivable, likely, probable, imaginable and thinkable. As the word is applied to a persons abilities, we tend to focus too much on the likeliness of reaching potential but in actuality, the word is associated with the hypothetical.  
     
    Potential is always used in sports as Jack made reference to but here’s the thing, who’s to judge when it has been fully reached? Brad Pitts’ character in the movie Moneyball is a great example of unfulfilled potential. The scouts in the movie were selling the idea of bringing Pitts’ character to the major leagues to develop and unleash his potential. Pitts’ character failed to live up to the scouts perception of major league potential but does that mean he didn’t reach it? Maybe that plateau had already been reached prior to making it to the major leagues. And what would have happened if he reaches the expectations of potential and exceeds them? If he doesn’t meet a perceived level of expectation after reaching his level of potential does he fail? It’s all argumentative really. 
     
    I think the word potential should be banned from use as it’s “potentially” damaging.
     

    •  @Michael Wilts Potential is a loaded term and I would argue that it is up to the individual to decide if they have truly gone as far as they can go. You can push someone and think that you have seen their best effort but only they know for certain if they have given it.
       
      There is no doubt that we can make a case for potential to be among the most subjective of terms which is why I bring it back to the individual. When the lights go out we need to feel comfortable with whatever it is we have done.

  4. I promptly headed over to Scary Mommy’s place to check out the war of words. The curiousity was killing me and I had to!
     
    Glad I did because it started my day with a big ol’ snorting out loud of the best kind!
    Thanks for that Jack 😉

    •  @Sandi Amorim Hi Sandi,
       
      I almost really let loose with my friend over there. I wasn’t ever angry, I really was messing around. But when they went off on me I was sorely tempted to see how far I could push them. 
       
      It was pretty silly.

      •  @TheJackB If I could have I would have chucked a bucket of cold water over her! Geez effin’ Louise, some people take themselves so damn seriously! 

        •  @Sandi Amorim It was because she was so serious that I had to exert extra effort not to poke her some more. That kind of reaction just makes me so curious.

  5.  
    Okay, I am distracted by your movie references. Even the sentence that wasn’t supposed to be about a movie. You know, the part where you talked about taking experiences and sucking the life out of them? In the movie that bombed at the box office, but which I have memorized every line in, “The Out of Towners,” Goldie Hawn’s character, who is married to Steve Martin’s, says, ” I want to LIVE! I want to suck the marrow out of life!” Steve Martin replies, “I want to do a little sucking. But mostly I want to catch up on my reading and fix the kitchen cabinet doors.” That line of dialogue still makes me smile. 
     
    And that “pushing hard or not pushing enough” thing with the kids? I can just say that my daughter was an only child and  first born (or only children) usually pay dearly for the right. Because we all set out to be perfect parents and dammit, this child will do everything right, by God, if I can help it. But I found with my daughter, when I finally eased off, she figured it out for herself (even though she was a late bloomer). I often wonder if I might have been a better parent with the second one. 
     
    So many good things to think about here, Jack. 
     

    •  @JudyDunn Hi Judy,
       
      I didn’t try to insert any movie references into this, although it is clear that I must have done something unintentionally. Went to bed thinking about Thoreau and Dead Poet’s Society so maybe there were things floating around inside my melon.
       
      My daughter definitely has had a different road to walk than her older brother and there are so many reasons why. She was born two days after my father had a triple bypass- her birth was the joyous ending to an exceptionally difficult time of life.
       
      The kids that come after see what their siblings can do and can’t imagine not being able to do the same things themselves. There is so much that I could say, just crazy but good.
       
      Hope you are having a great day.

  6. Okay, I am distracted by your movie references. Even the sentence that wasn’t supposed to be about a movie. You know, the part where you talked about taking experiences and sucking the life out of them? In the movie that bombed at the box office, but which I have memorized every line in, “The Out of Towners,” Goldie Hawn’s character, who is married to Steve Martin’s, says, ” I want to LIVE! I want to suck the marrow out of life!” Steve Martin replies, “I was to do a little sucking. But mostly I want to catch up on my reading and fix the kitchen cabinet doors.” That line of dialogue still makes me smile. 
     
    And that “pushing hard or not pushing enough” thing with the kids? I can just say that my daughter was an only child and  first born (or only children) usually pay dearly for the right. Because we all set out to be perfect parents and dammit, this child will do everything right, by God, if I can help it. But I found with my daughter, when I finally eased off, she figured it out for herself (even though she was a late bloomer). I often wonder if I might have been a better parent with the second one. 
     
    So many good things to think about here, Jack. 

  7. I am almost never obnoxious and juvenile too……because….ok, I don’t think I’m obnoxious because I’m so hilariously funny.
     
    Well written my friend and I certainly know the dilemma of wanting to push your kids but not too much. Even when they are doing incredibly well but you know they could even do better; when do you back off and let them figure it out for themselves? And they will………..one way or another……..
     
    Happy Memorial Day to you, hope you have a good one. 

    •  @bdorman264 As long as you know you are funny it doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks. That is one of my mottos and I am sticking to it.
       
      Most of the time I am quite confident that they will do a better job if they don’t feel any pressure from me, but every now and then…
       
      Happy Memorial Day to you too Bill.

  8. The older I get the more I believe that it’s not what we’re going or producing that reflects how well we are fulfilling our potential, but who we are while doing that stuff.
    Happy Memorial Fay, Jack! Thanks for the workout for my brain! Lots of energy in this post. Wore me out.

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