#INDYLGENT

1st look cover

Imagine that big scary thing that cripples your core, walked in to wherever you are right now, sat down across from you and began to speak.

A spider? Snake? Debt? Your boss? The darkest low? The highest heights? HIV?

Mine would be HIV. So I imagined what it would say, if given the chance to present its case. What would I hear as it hauled forth its howl? And theeeen, I get to what I must admit is the consideration that maybe the Bible and its bully wasn’t far off after all… Because I will put everything I own and everything I’m worth on it, that the Mark of the Beast is here: it is our intolerance of that which scares us.

Heavy?

It ends there — I promise. The rest is just your anybody-everybody’s, any-day-any-way, and in the many both mindless and mad ways…

And whether with the courage to salute a secret and set it free — because of how stifling the sanctioning of it is across every silhouette you see… Or with the war cries we walk, waddle or writhe to when we wake up and walk out on worry (for an appointment with wonderful!)…

…our owned magnifying is magic!

Because it is only the owned moments that matter.

Whether you blog, take photos, journal, run, ride, recite, or simply recognise each jostling jolt of your journey by the jeans you wore, looking back is your back-row-all-to-yourself, magical moment — between both the cringing and courage — to bask in how beautiful you are.

I’m a writer by profession, so it’s not always how I want to profess after a day of paid-for-professing. Ergo, I do this #WritingStoriesDifferently thing. And with a Love that is Alive, I thank my Light, everyday, that people like Larissa, Catherine, Gillian, Nundi, Niki, Thato, Gerhard, Kyara, PamLindsay, Linda, Bonnie, Dave, GlynnisMel, Natasha, Caddie, Fay, Hayley ‘Ellis’ and Hayley who, when they can – and whether they do or don’t get what I’m ‘saying’ – say something when they see me in it.

So what if no one is listening?! Tell the world – or even just a wall – the story of who you are.

All any of us has is what is in our heart.

And whether you blog, take photos, journal, run, ride, recite, or simply recognise each jostling jolt of your journey by the jeans you wore, whenever you slide through them sludge-moments of feeling small (and you will), just look at what has touched every. single. jostle. you’ve. journeyed – ever!

Your fingerprint.

FUCK YEAH!

Compressed Compassions │ 1st Look

#WritingStoriesDifferently

 

 

An open boy letter to boy Australian Prime Minister man

Tony

One offers one’s sympathy.

No idea about the winters but – by God – you must have schvitzed like a mo-fo through those long summers in that barn you were raised in.

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No Gender December

The Greens senator Larissa Waters has launched an awareness campaign called No Gender December about the consequences of gender stereotypes (via toys) in the lead-up to Christmas.

Monsieur Abbot said: “I certainly don’t believe in that kind of political correctness. Let boys be boys, let girls be girls – that’s always been my philosophy.” He then took his eye of his joey long enough to further stump, and added: “You wonder why the Parliament is difficult when you have people like that with the balance of power in the Senate.”

Listen sausage, if you wanna know what a difficult Parliament looks like, have a squiz at this:

Me thinks Tony is just upset because Waters is really just proposing that people think for themselves which, if you know Australia or any Australians, is not something they can genuinely list as a strength. It is the ultimate nanny society; a setup that guarantees an eventual, completely brain-dead population who have had everything done for them – including their every decision, some made by the likes of this charmer: Tony Abbot.

#winning

Stupidity is its own punishment. You will inevitably come back around on that track you laid and sooner or later have to swallow what you spewed. It is the very realising of your own stupidity that results in – whether coward or cunning – a deft swapping of sides.

This is why Julius Malema is no longer shower-head‘s yapdog.

At University, this Abbot bloke studied Philosophy (among other subjects) and was awarded two Blues for his achievements as a heavyweight boxer. As a vocal student opposing the then dominant left wing student-leadership, he was once beaten up at a campus rally.

Right.

So, attended classes? Yes. Learned anything? No.

He is:

  • not a very good philosopher
  • not a very good boxer

#shame (#bless if you are non-Saffa)

As a butch, hunter-gatherer, God-fearing, hot-blooded male, I want to stand up, look Abbot in the eye with hand on my scarlet-sequinned heart and say I may have, just that one time, played with a My Little Pony toy. And as you can see… there’s zippo wrong with moi.

So to you and your theory uncle Ton’s, I say:

You are a stupid.

Thanks.

PS: Stagnation is, like, sooooooo 80s mate.

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“Consistency is contrary to nature, contrary to life.
The only completely consistent people are the dead.”
― Aldous Huxley

 © Dylan Balkind

39 million

39 Header

39 million people are gone.

Because of a virus our divisions have allowed to ascend.

If the Holy Bible is to be believed and 2014 is the number of AD years we’ve existed, we’ve had plenty more than that to learn just one thing: united we stand, divided we fall.

Through thickness and thin.

In sickness, and in health…

But we haven’t united, have we?

Holy Bible – or bland book of bullshit –  either way: we divide habitually and without fail.

We ridicule. We shun. We spit at. We turn our backs on… to the point that, that which takes aim to divide us – can win.

Like HIV.

So I wondered… what words this combative cultivator of cunctation would say if it could… It’s our selfish spite and stupidity that gives ‘it’ such a convincing case.

I am where fear is trumped in the search from love’s lost
I am where mortal humiliates the humiliated-already – them men who look like ghosts
There you go like ants before the queen, ordered to safeguard secrets…
– all your advances are flushed as expendable by your gathering greed’s digress

How there goes your distance with untouching, formidable feast?
Something your rioting righteousness won’t see as Mark of the Beast
You did it. You do it. You are it – at best
But blindly convinced of your stay deserving on God’s floating nest

You handwrote my invite and put me on your VIP list
Now that door is one you can’t close for that never-would-leave guest
I’ll wither. I’ll weaken. I’ve galloped in here on Trojan Horse
To humiliate the humiliated-already, them women who look like ghosts

Pharmaceutical. Untactical. Expendable. Digressed.
Incubated by fear within islands between love’s lost
It always was, has … and always will be –
Those you call rebels who teach posthumously

Your Bible brought stories from around campfires at day’s rest
All you had to was listen to pass the soul’s Truth-North test
Compassion by connection is all you have left
But you’ve shunned it to gun it and bowed deep in greed’s feast

I’ve withered. I’ve weakened. Arrived welcome on Trojan Horse
I am the fears you discarded – I am the Mark of the Beast
Not something physical nor mineral that you can touch
But because you turned on each other, denying love from love’s lost…

Helen of Troy – I am not female nor boy
My gender grotesques through my dodging and ploy
I sirened as I weakened and withered your rebel-best
So cowards be left to live with me, I am Mark of the Beast 

It always was, has and always will be –
Those you call rebels who teach posthumously
You say idols are bad, goats interrupt goading piously
Your gadgets are 666 that underpin your Boxsciety

I’ve felt my backbone bend before I mix and contort
I’m running out of islands as you defend last resort
I too searched the darkness for compassionate companion
I found none in your nest, so here I am: your Armageddon

Your cavalier disconnection from your neighbours in the nest
Is what your mirrors – though full – have failed to reflect
I sirened as I weakened and withered your rebel-best
So cowards be left to live with me, I am Mark of the Beast

So cowards be left to live with me, I am Mark of the Beast

 

#WritingStoriesDifferently

 

© Dylan Balkind

Seven Billion Stars

Charles Bukowski said that, if something burns your soul with purpose and desire, it is your duty to be reduced to ashes by it. Funny, because that’s really how things go!

Then, from your ashes – and after the wound-licking that we love to do – we rise and ready ourselves to have our passion and purpose burned all over again.

This periodicity is how passion ebbs and flows.

Our endless rhythm’ing as we Phoenix from the Ashes.

And from each hell that we rise from, we say: “Hello world. It’s nice to meet you!”

Music mixed by me, for me – and you :)

#WritingStoriesDifferently

Atman | Woodkid | Madonna | the Moon landing | Lykke Li | John Williams | Charlie Chaplin | Thomas Newman | Sara Bareilles | The Cardigans | Ewan Mc Gregor | Nicole Kidman | Lighthouse Family | Ellen | Colin Farrell | Foxes | Aloe Blacc | One Republic | Oprah | Paulo Coehlo | India Arie

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Happy Birthday Boo

Okay… I’m only barely just in time… Sorry so late Boo! The Northern Line was up the pole and the buses were on diversion…

*clears throat*

I thought I’d just paste this song to your timeline from YouTube… but… lo and behold: we are that special. We were one of few (read really, really ridiculously rare) folk who got that really, really ridiculously rare promo CD. So… I imported to here what neither Shazaam nor Soundhound will recognise. Ergo! Sealed, saved, scratched or astray, (almost) nobody but us will be able to button down these beats.

I hope you had a happy, HAPPY birthday! Here a ditty to dance to:


Was super-stellar-special to bump into you and Ang’ last weekend :-)))

Be beautiful.

#NoEffortRequired

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© Dylan Balkind

 

 

Friendscaping

True friendships come but once in a lifetime. Being in one involves a partnership of active attendance because you’re consciously responsible for your part rather than simply viewing events like an eyes-glazed spectator would a spit-roast or a game of chess.

All of this has been turned on its head by the activity of Facebook-friending that NBF you made over your 01h37 Jaeger Bomb, or the polka-dot-adorned charmer at Felicity’s wonderful Tupperware and tea party last Sunday. Now, you newfound kindred spirits with enthusiastic and bold declarations of where, when, why and how you’ll keep in touch so as to take this new bond from menial to meaningful, have solidified your commitments via one ‘request’ and its counterpart ‘accept’.

So you’re Facebook forevers. But then it posts its Farmville score 14 times a night and invites you to join Birthdays1 once a week; tells all and sundry that her boyfriend farted all night and that despite the asphyxiation, not only did she not die, sadly, but she couldn’t sleep. Or… that on their very first visit to Cape Town, this gas-riddled but loving couple enjoyed a lovely romantic dinner … at the Spur.

So between the vapid and the vulgar, you realise your NBF is more BS than BF, and – rather than just hiding all their updates (simply because you can’t stomach another reductive sentence in your news feed) – you, in a moment of temporary albeit extremely satisfying insanity, commit digital manslaughter: You unfriend.

Bold.

Very bold.

t1larg.unfriend.facebook

Although there are no fingerprints or weapons of mass destruction, there will be a bruised ego and a downturned mouth, once, in weeks or minutes from the time of the crime, Felicity realises she’s down to one like rather than two per update and your original generosity and good-manners of liking everything she said and did will be the very alibi that shines the light upon your so-called crime.

What’s good for the Goose 

Sure, it swings both ways. I’ve been deleted by people. Many people. And, after a considered period2 of mourning, I have to admit to the common denominator: my oft brutal honesty across a range of life-changing and problem-solving topics.

I post things that suggest Kim Kardashian be tap danced upon by a troop of golf-shoe-wearing dancers simply because the daffodil who is as important to society as pubic hair, is worth $10million. I post things that suggest that one very fat-cat Julius Malema should take a long walk off a short pier but to kindly forgo wearing his red beret when he does as we don’t necessarily want to know the geography of his devastating disappearance. I post things that call out Catholicism and the previous, very tired Pope who had to retire, for their double-standards when representing a God-fearing contingent for and on behalf of a supposedly all-loving God. I call out homophobes, misogynists and general small-minded stupids who share things like news about an ‘unknown creature’ washing up on an ‘unknown beach’. If you willingly drink that much unknown kool aid from an unknown kool aid dispenser, you too should be unknown.

Unfriend.

unfriend_you_print

It’s not sacrilege. It’s not personal. Because those who I’ve lost can’t spell ‘sacrilege’ and the ones I’ve deleted probably play only an understudy’s part in my personal evolution anyway.

Yeah, this digital stopgap offers a whole new landscape of connections. Still, it’s just a webpage. There are no hugs that last long enough to build a lump in your throat. There are no deep and meaningful conversations that end in the kinds of tears or giggles that outline and define a connection you feel blessed to be a part of… and there are no comforting hand-squeezes of support before you go to an interview or tell your crush how crushed you really are.

So you may be the casual Facebooker with the odd upload of your Sunday race or what you crocheted at divorcee club on Saturday, or you may be the one who shares things that both upset and inspire you to the core… Here’s the thing: there are no rules. Just preferences. And like TV, if you don’t like what you’re watching you can simply change the channel.

Considering the ratio of people we talk to on an ongoing basis versus the number of ‘friends’ we have – there should be no hard feelings. Unless of course you can get a message to the retired Pope, Kim Jong Un Kardashian or the big J – Malema. Then I’d prefer you stick around for act 2.

TBC

1 Why the fuckidy-fuck-fuck does Facebook even have this App? You can see whenever someone is celebrating the day of their birth, anyway. The site infiltrates your daily calendar across a number of devices and even doubles up by notifying you in the sidebar of daily events. Then there is the very obvious notification that seven-dozen other people have written on Felicity’s wall for her birthday and you should too. So, in the interest of avoiding the trivial, please sod off with your Birthday App Facebook. No, no… that wasn’t a question. 

2 This comprises a time period of anything between 2 minutes and 120 seconds.

© Dylan Balkind

Joan Rivers on Alec Baldwin’s anti-gay rant

“Why don’t we just calm down … and stop everybody getting so damn uptight…”

The woman looks like she’s about to burst a blood vessel anytime somebody wears something she’s not down with. And fashion censure? Phew… what a way to do your bit for peace, equality and acceptance in the world. But sure, some bulk of a dumbass has strike 2 with vicious vitriol and we must all calm down.

I don’t like or understand homophobes, but in doing so I have to appreciate that they don’t like or understand gay people. But if I don’t impose my homosexuality in their space, then they shouldn’t feel like they can impose their homophobia in mine. Oh to live in that world…

But Joan Rivers? What the fuckery? The woman makes a living out of enmity towards (just about) everything that anyone else is doing or wearing, so she basically has to come to his defense, right? But you know what? You’re not stupid, so maybe choose your words a little more carefully next time you silly old Diplodocus.

Al things considered… the sanity is bound to slip from time to time.

PS: If you can be bothered, here’s just how nice and calm she can be.

Update: She has a new book out called ‘I Hate Everyone… Starting With Me.’ Yup. That’ll do it.

© Dylan Balkind

_when we say ‘fine’

Humanity’s frequency is in the volunteer of a beauty unobserved. She, the tactile-defensive said: ‘Can I give you a hug?’ — and unflinching, followed through.

She asked if I was sick or sad. I said a little of both.

It’s funny that freedom is something we voluntarily lock ourselves out of when we say ‘fine’ – which I guess is why I am still trying to map where this elusive Liberty lives…

…but the creator of my reality knows me – because the creator of my reality is me…

— and still, I sulk. Them unfrequented grounds of camp and their fastidious cliques depress me. So excessively particular and demanding, that tirelessly habitual critique is an ironically priggish brevity so sickeningly binding of itself.

I have to door-slam stop myself and – catching my reflection from mirrors within mirrors – I wonder: does my questioning and hate for this depth-lack come from the arrears of my own blueprint?

Impatience…

Don’t look down… the fear that lies beneath you is not what I’ve done…
Don’t you see? That if you really knew me, you’d let me turn the key?

The creator of my reality knows me – because the creator of my reality is me.

Isn’t it ironic that failure is something we don’t know we’ve even considered while freedom is something we voluntarily lock ourselves out of when we say ‘fine’?

She asked if I was sick or sad. I said a little of both and she said: ‘Can I give you a hug?

Redemption is humanity’s volunteer in a beauty unobserved…

…and it is inside of this vitality that I find the trail of Light to where Liberty lives.

© Dylan Balkind

White Supremacy

No bait. So much hate. I never got to ask you about your suffocating spate.
Neck brace. Hot face. The ambulance ride told me I’d lost the race.
I went out looking pretty. I came back looking gritty.
I wonder if the unaffected still think my harping about this is petty?

I don’t get stuck doing it often … until I see things like this.

Fourteen years ago, I watched a poet stand under a spotlight, her lips big and her head shaved – she was beautiful and brittle and she wanted answers from her people. She purred: “Give a white man a gun… and he shoots a black man. Give a black man a gun… and he shoots a black man.”

The quiet that followed boomed discernible discomfort. Everybody was embarrassed to be the colour they were for the words she wove were wild.

What is wrong with us?
Why so much chaos?
Karma’s due to hit soon with the full-speed force of a brakeless bus.

So much hate
strangling Light in its gait
Do you see an end in sight to the frenzy of this spate?

I went out looking pretty. I came back looking gritty.
I wonder if the unaffected still think my harping about this is petty?

I don’t get stuck doing it often … until I see things like this.

Screen Shot 2013-10-05 at 7.43.52 PM

Who are you? Privileged white man, son and brother –
to decide that you can and should do this to another?
I want you to have to sit and watch this with your mother,
and the father of your future fiancé and her little brother.

Your drugs are broken
love is just a token
of something you haven’t yet known, lived, felt or even spoken.
You need to start to see
that the repercussions of actions are three –
and that not yet knowing yourself is just an empty roar unspoken melee.

I insist I bring poise albeit anger to this podium,
though nervous I swear this voice I stall could fill a stadium.
It’s when you go outside of being inside your callous thoughtlessness,
that you free yourself from that terminal consortium carelessness.

No bait. So much hate.
Your drugs are broken and your love’s just a token…
I went out looking pretty. I came back looking gritty.
I wonder if the unaffected still think my harping about this is petty?

 

© Dylan Balkind

Would the real Copywriter please stand up?

Originally written for and published on BizCommunity.com.
For engagement details, click here

In a world of SEO (dead or not) and the immediacy of content-to-consumer needed, there seems to be more copy needed than Copywriters out there. Never fear, for an article titled How to Get High-Performance Sales Copy Without Hiring a Copywriter hit the blogosphere recently.

Information like this is priceless and will change the future for Laquisha, the envelope filling entrepreneur, Donathan’s Christmas present opening startup or aunty Martha who believes that her smoked haddock air freshener range is going to make a mint. It’s easy, you see? This white paper on our profession by Christina Gillick says that readers make good writers, so if you read a lot, you can do your own Copywriting.

Everyone’s a writer

I arrived at the New Zealand Chiefs Super 15 practice. They asked what I was doing there before I explained that I’d watched a few games on the telly, was a fan of the scrum and always fancied being the guy they throw in the air in the lineout. Naturally, they showed me to my locker right away, kitted me out with my costume and we won the tournament. Hoorah! Anyone can do it, right?

Not really. So would you sit down at the latest iMac complete with state-of-the-art spectroradiometers and design your own corporate identity? Quickly go and read a lot so that you could write you own objective-driven copy or sew yourself a tuxedo for that promotion-to-CEO gala dinner? You could certainly try – everyone loves a guy with a sense of humour.

I can count on my hands the amount of times I have read something and said “Holy shitballs Mom! I wish I’d written that!” – yet it would take you more than a day to count all the people in our industry who are calling themselves writers. Then try vetting them… that should blow your hair back.

I Googled one Christina Gillick and found a lovely picture of her lying under the tree with her laptop, working – obviously. It was titled: “Christina Gillick enjoying the writer’s life at her quiet country home in Texas.” They must do things differently in Texas because, let’s be honest, writing is anything but quiet-time. It’s as deadline-driven as any job and usually involves at least nine other voices in your own head before the first word has hit the page. But I’m down when it comes to helpful tips, so anytime I have to produce any High-Performance Sales Copy, I’m heading for a tree in Texas.

Supply and demand

Bad-Copywriting2Fact is, more and more people are looking for (competent) content generators. However – and whether it comes down to a budget or the urgency pandemic – the entry barrier at many agencies into these roles is not exactly up there with the bar exam. And if you believe that these agency roles are no science, then you may be part of the problem – there’s no avoiding the fact that writing decent, engaging copy is not for everyone.

Someone who kinda sorta maybe enjoyed English in High School isn’t necessarily the right talent for this work. What should be important to agency owners and clients alike is not necessarily finding someone with a Masters in English, but someone who has a natural talent mixed with an undeniable passion for their craft and a body of work that demonstrates such. There’s your candidate.

 

Has Copywriting lost its heart? 

Not entirely. But very often, the diluted skill-set in a room that determines the direction of a brand forgets the importance of stories. We all need stories that prompt us to feel something, and be inspired or motivated by. Whether these are seen on TV, heard on Radio, watched in a taxi or at the rank, interpreted across a series of billboards and reinforced with what we engaged with online once we got to the office, seen in a double page spread, advertorial, blog or TTL campaign – people need something to latch on to. What good is content that popped up first on your search but did absolutely nothing for you after that? And to tell stories by mastering his craft, a writer needs to be able to see something different about the world around him; to understand that the resonant power of writing is in the magic of how 26 letters are arranged together and that there is nothing coincidental about this.

There really are no sneaky tricks, nor are there quick fixes. If you want copy that moves and motivates while delivering on the brief, find a talented, passionate writer that loves to write. That’s all there is to it. Failing that, you could be master of all (none) and use Google to teach you how to do it all yourself. While you’re at it, you can learn how to remove warts, how to design a poster, how to be a good wife, how to become a vampire, how to strategic plan and how to find the best tree to lie under when needing to produce High-Performance Sales Copy.

The list is long, how much time do you have?

Copy1

© Dylan Balkind

Who do you think you are?

Originally written for and published on BizCommunity.com.
For engagement details, click here

What’s your take on some of the fancy-pants titles doing the rounds on the circuit currently? Happiness Advocate. Social Media Trailblazer. Head Cheese. Digital Dynamo. Copy Cruncher. I can’t decide. I’ve been called a pain in the arse but hey, that’s not on my email signature or the cards in my wallet. Obviously, as a complete stick in the mud and advocate of all things old-school conservative, I find veering from the norm in any shape or form completely ludicrous. That aside – if I were to challenge myself to stretch a little – I’d still have to question the merit of some of these new offerings.

Mad Men (Season 5)Wacom Wunderkind? PowerPoint Prodigy? The list is long. But listen pal, if you’re calling yourself a PowerPoint Prodigy, you need to sit down and face the front. There’s no need for that kind of ostentatious behaviour in a creative industry like ours. These new clever descriptors to describe your business prowess have birthed a tricky trend.

Tricky because not all trends are supposed to stick. Look at Mara Louw on Idols.

In fact, look at Idols.

Your email signature that lists you as the organisation’s Dynamic Paradigm Facilitator is very exciting – to you and maybe one other daffodil on the planet (your Gran). Then you take it to the next level and hit the town talking about it to anyone who will listen. Creepy. It smacks of trying too hard to be cool and we all know what happens when you do that. Well not me, obviously, but most people.

Not convinced?

These are some very real and active titles in the mix right now.

  • “Erection Engineer.” Mm… I plead the fifth.
  • “Mighty Eagle.” Penned for the creator of Angry Birds. *cough*
  • “Swiss Army Knife.” This is a Web Developer. I’m lost. 
  • “Social Media Rockstar.” Because if you believe this to be rocket science, the title matters.
  • “IT Pro Evangelist.” Because it takes a lot of skilled preaching to advise people to reboot.
  • “Director of Intrusion Detection.” If you can guarantee NO rain spiders, sure – have the title.
  • “Kingpin of Financial Trading & …” Yawn… I could do with a manni…

It’s all about context

obn br 2Some titles and name badges are best kept for agency drinks on a Friday. Internal company relations are such a powerful forum for team morale and a great place to boost that wunderkind who genuinely doesn’t expect that he is a wunderkind. It doesn’t mean you have to change his job title, redesign his brand within yours and reprint his business cards (if you’re still doing that). It means that you have a fantastic opportunity to create an internal culture that is unique to those who eat, sleep and breathe the organisation – internally. It doesn’t have to match how you project yourself to your clients based on the services you’re selling. It also tells your team that you know them and that you’ve seen and heard the parts of their personalities that make them unique.

Pass begin. Forget the R200.

Here’s the thing: if you start convincing your impressionable team that these swank new titles are cool, they will start putting them on their CVs. And to move on with something like Erection Engineer is like having a wine-fuelled brainwave at 2am and expecting the ‘artful’ scamp you drew to wow your audience come presentation time. So I’ve heard.

Think about that CV landing on top-shop hot-shot’s desk with the title that got you so excited you actually wet yourself. He/she won’t agree. Promise. It’s like Romy & Michelle’s ‘…we invented post-its…’. It’s awkward and it’s creepy – and so is your dodgy job title.

Director of first impressions

Ergo, don’t take yourself too seriously. There must be a way to keep the spirit light while you keep people thinking but while being clear about the difference between what’s smart versus what’s simply stupid. Unlike one tepid who took all this very seriously and complained to the ASA about Johannesburg calling itself a World Class African City. It wasn’t me. So don’t get me wrong: I do believe in the value of titles. They are important for defining goals, accomplishments and a structure within the organization – even if yours professes to embrace a flat one. If for nothing other than for process-driven deliverables, they certainly have their place. Still, it doesn’t have to be brain science, but if you insist on frolicking with the flowery options of (en)titlement, changing your title as often as your mood swings is easy. Simply log onto bullshitjob.com/title and have a ball.

Dylan Balkind | Director of Chaos

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PS: What do you think of these new titles? Smart? Or stupid?
© Dylan Balkind

It’s not right, but it’s okay

I have this beautiful friend. And by beautiful, I mean in every way imaginable. Life deals us all sorts of different blows though and because of this, she’s been really down for a long time. She’s been really down because she’s been really lonely. The longer she is lonely, the more down she gets and the more down she gets, the harder it is for her to stop being lonely.

Then one day she met a man. He seemed perfect. But to add insult to injury, he made it clear from the start that he wasn’t ever going to be able to be what she needed. He couldn’t. Still… It didn’t deter her delight at all. I watched her face and listened as she told me about how this fling made her feel. How alive she felt because of it. How excited she was to go there in her head and to get up everyday and talk about it to anyone who would listen.

Any sane person would have told her to run for the hills because a man that is emotionally unavailable is not the kind she needed right now (if ever). But I couldn’t do it. I listened as she took me through the same details again and again and, as I watched the sun’s reflection setting in her eyes, it got me thinking that the right advice isn’t always the best advice. Where had caution ever got me, so who was I to dole that out as a recommendation to anyone else?

Sometimes it makes more sense to go after something stupid simply because you’ve missed the very magic of goosebumps on your skin. Sure, you could be more sensible than that. But then again, there is only so much sanctity in solitude and sometimes the risk is worth it just to know you are still alive. It’s a senseless wonder, but life can be like that.

Yes, it is stupid to send your heart hurtling down a one-way highway knowing that the road isn’t finished at the other end, hoping for the best anyway even though you know that guilty pleasures seldom end up with any pleasure at all. That’s why they are guilty, but life can be like that.

Isn’t it funny how, no matter how old we get or how wise our lessons learned should make us feel, we still do stupid things in the spirit of immortality? Why? Because tomorrow isn’t always the most important thing. Go out. Be alive. Get hurt. You need to celebrate who you are and how you feel right now – with all your faults and flaws. You are beautiful today, in this moment and you will never have this time again.

bfgf drive sunsetSo I said nothing about how this could lead to even more hurt than what she had been going through before. I believe there is value in dusting off your heart and putting it through its paces, and how that can be more important than keeping it locked away for a rainy day that may never come. Let your eyes water because you let yourself feel. Sometimes they do that when the light catches them just perfectly as you look into the sunset and they well-up as we soften at its wonder. It doesn’t have to be sad, because life can be like that.

So if you find yourself in love with the idea of something or someone that you shouldn’t be, go with it – even if for just a little while.

It’s not right, but it’s okay.

In fact it’s better than okay. It’s good for you. To feel love is one of life’s truest wonders.

It’s like driving with the window down and looking straight into the sunset.

It will make your eyes water.

Life can be like that.

© Dylan Balkind

Reduce until silent

Ego is a problem we arm wrestle with daily. When it wins, we lose, and in more ways than one. The trouble starts because ego is rooted in the complexity between ignorance and conviction.

Think about the noise around you everyday. There is so much of it from people willing to engage on the pettiest levels for reactions that will glorify their (anticipated) intelligence. This is not just about having an opinion – of which I have many – and I am in no way insinuating that you should silence yours… But being empowered with opinion and comfortable in that understated skin is also about respecting the empowerment in others. Their journey and how their shoes fit while they walked the distance to get where they are is so intimate to them. So looking at it from the outside will reveal many things – none of them simple.

Facing the convolution of ego means having to face its twisted-sister – tolerance. The art of defending the former is about how much of the latter you are willing to offer. Debate is having the ability to listen and even very possibly, say: okay, I was wrong and you have changed my mind.

We could have a field day about the short supply of tolerance in our country, but this is not just a localized issue. I fear that even though, through all their advancements, the average American Joe seems to be getting stupider everyday. Whether these acts of lunacy are only directly linked to the marriage-equality revolution or not, all sorts of losers seem to be allocated the forum to say utterly preposterous things.

Let me entertain you

Linda Harvey of Mission America has said that wearing pro-gay t-shirts is equivalent to bullying; she has said that gays are not people and shouldn’t enjoy human rights (as per the Fourteenth Amendment); that no one is naturally homosexual, and that the destructive effects of homosexuality should be fought the way the church fought slavery. Two of her ilk, Kevin Swanson and Dave Buehner said that because of the breakdown of the family, homosexuality is set to spread over America like a flesh-eating virus.

linda-harvey1

Firstly Linda, don’t name your company Mission America if it is not the mission of the whole of America that you represent. And secondly, don’t get your knickers in a twist about what gay men do with what they have between their legs just because it’s been a lifetime since you’ve had something between yours. Just like White Parties, the yo-yo phase or the spiral perm, homosexuality has absolutely no bearing on you should you choose not to embrace it. Don’t get the perm. Just move on.

These groups are classified as hate groups. Why is a group that is defined by hate even allowed to exist? Sure, I suppose disbanding them would infringe on their rights, but if what binds the group together infringes on others’ rights, then… well… vicious circle, yes?

There are so many battles going on that needn’t be. These two New York men were left looking like this because – well you have a shot at it:

a)     They go to White Parties
b)     They were playing with their yo-yo’s
c)     They each got a spiral perm

ny-attack-victims

Confused? I know. It’s ridic – no matter what.

Clearly the kind of behaviour that got the caveman a date is making a comeback to contemporary culture. You simply bash your intended’s head in. A date must be just what these neanderthals were going for – they just had a funny way of showing it (in front of their friends).

Ego is a problem we arm wrestle with daily. When it wins, we lose, and in more ways than one. Debate is having the ability to listen and even very possibly, say: okay, I was wrong and you have changed my mind. We can do that. It doesn’t make us weak. It makes us human. Because we are so much bigger than the traffic-heavy routes we take to work everyday, the lost loves or the pettiness that may go on in the office around you. Think about listening. Because when you start listening to it, you can change the world.

© Dylan Balkind

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