Kambour’s Life Lessons

I’ve learned a lot some a small number of things across my 24 years on this Earth (is there another?). Lots of them are useless. Some have been good takeaways, though, and in this Blogcat I’d like to share ten that jump out. Actually, what the hell. I’m in a good mood and feeling generous. Let’s do five instead.

Now, I’m sure I could fabricate some profound, maudlin tenets that some grandma would sew on a pillow, but what’s the fun in that? Here, I’m going for that delicious balance of serious and inane, but as with anything I say, none of it should be taken seriously.

Paradox, anyone?

Alright, let’s jump in before I get more sidetracked. Value descending.

Your college major doesn’t matter – I majored in Philosophy in college. Not exactly world-renowned as the most practical of foci. Before and after graduation, I would get asked the wonderful, not-at-all-patronizing question, “so…what are you planning on doing with that?” My mom’s friends would ask her the same question too. Christopher Phillip Taylor Tourek would send me articles called “The 10 most useless college majors,” with Philosophy inevitably topping the charts.

What I didn’t realize at the time was that the answer was ‘nothing,’ at least officially. Having a Bachelor’s Degree has certainly come into play, and I’ve translated the soft skills I learned in studying philosophy to other things, but in terms of needing to quote Kant’s Prolegomena to defend my point in a heated back-and-forth, life-or-death Metaphysics debate? Not exactly. Instead, I’ve ended up blending in with everybody else in the workforce who majored in humanities. I have the exact same job as people with Econ and Business majors, with the only difference being I actually enjoyed what I studied in school. 

If you want an engineering job, or if medical school’s in your future, then maybe this doesn’t apply to you. But for the rest of us schmucks, the choice of a major is not a huge concern.

Know Your Audience – My hometown group of friends has a very peculiar sense of humor. No bit of humor is ubiquitously appreciated, I imagine, but our particularly skew doesn’t translate as well as some others. It’s wildly sarcastic, yet farcical at the same time. It’s sometimes so strange that, in fact, one kid transferred out of Vanderbilt after a month because nobody there really got it.

It’s hard to know in the moment, but over the years, as this disconnect continued to occur, I came to really appreciate that there are times to dial it back; even if your specific brand of humor isn’t quite as idiosyncratic – and especially if it’s more so – please realize that there’s a time and a place for almost everything, but this just might not be one of those moments.

Local Cuisine is Overrated – I was actually reminded of this when Dave Jacoby brought up this very point on a recent Grantland Podcast, so one could argue the thought’s not original, but I’ve been of this opinion for a few years now, so relax, guy!

Philadelphia is notorious for its cheesesteaks. New York for its pizza. Chicago for its pizza, too, but with a deeper dish, and sausages as well. Countless other cities too have their renowned delicacies, but in my opinion, it really doesn’t matter. It’s more of a gimmick – a tourist attraction – than an existence of some exclusive tier of quality.

Don’t get me wrong. Having po-boys in New Orleans is great. Giordano’s in Chicago is dope. It’s just that the notion of “barbecue just isn’t the same outside of Memphis” is preposterous. It was probably true, back in the day, before things like the airplane and illegal immigration existed. Now, though, as long as you’re in somewhat of a major city, you can find quality cuisine virtually everywhere.

During the spring semester of my Junior year of college I studied abroad in London. England, as a whole, has a pretty bad reputation for food. Wikipedia describes British cuisine as “unfussy dishes…. matched with simple sauces.” Other than it’s  contribution to the Mount Rushmore of hilarious food names – Spotted Dick – it’s really not got much going in its favor. As such, before I left, people inquired how was I ever going to feed myself abroad.

Well what did I do? Even outside of just cooking for myself, which would have largely taken care of the problem, I ate pizza, at any number of restaurants. I ate stir fry, steak, curry, sushi, what have you, including the mecca of all restaurants – Wagamama. London’s a city with 8 million people, and all you need is one dude to get his hand’s on a cookbook.

Even Jesse Pinkman can cook like Walter White. All he’s gotta do is follow the recipe.

(**I will say, the one exception I have with this rule is Italy. I spent a week there during my semester abroad, and it exceeded the hype. I’ve been to many Italian restaurants in the past 10 years, and I’ve never ordered the pasta with marinara sauce. It’s just too boring. In Italy, that was all I ate for a week straight, and every meal was transcendent.**)

The NBA is infinitely better than college basketball

This would clearly be a wholly subjective opinion, if it weren’t so obviously a fact.

I used to feel the opposite way in middle school and early high school. My cousin Eric went to Duke at the time that I became aware of college basketball, and since that coincided with that stacked team with Shane Battier, Jay Williams, Carlos Boozer, Mike Dunleavy, and Chris Duhon (btw, that roster’s absurd), and Duke was one of a half-dozen schools I’d ever heard of, I was a huge fan. I loved it. Then I grew up.

Never will I relapse, either. As they say, “Once you go black, you can’t go back” – particularly relevant, given the different demographics between the amateurs and pros.

I’ve heard the “NBA players don’t try or play defense” and “the regular season doesn’t matter” arguments in favor of college bball 395 times. I can’t fathom how the latter could work in favor of the amateur ranks, considering that the Madness of March typically gives a big F-U to any sensible, regular-season-performance-based predictions (see: Butler and VCU). That being said, the regular season does matter. It’s impossible to say, but Game 6 of this year’s NBA Finals might have swung differently had it been in San Antonio (hmmm… although the Heat fans did bail…). Also, without the regular season, we’d never truly know how much the Bobcats suck! We’d only have our very strong suspicions.

As for the whole “they don’t try thing,” I suppose that has a bit of merit, but to those who cite this, I say: Get off your high horse. How crisp and productive were you at work the last three Tuesday mornings? You didn’t sip coffee until 15 minutes after you’re intended start of the day? Yea, that’s what I thought.

It’s clear now that nobody beats The League (or the Wiz), because from so many perspectives, the NCAA just doesn’t tan in comparison (get it?). The amount of talent, skill, athleticism, drama, trade rumors, dunks, Chris Bosh photo-bombs, above-the-rim blocks, tip-slams, fashion, Birdman, precision, coordination, KG saying “motherfucker,” game knowledge, Boogie Cousins, competition, Popovich interviews, alley-oops, Cheerios-related beef, Kirilenko’s back tattoo, cultural influence, Rasheed Wallace’s burn spot, twitter and facebook buzz, All-Star Games, fire-extinguisher-case-glass smashing, well-run out-of-timeout sets, dribble penetration, Michael Beasley’s criminal infractions, podcasts, Javale McGee playing defense while his team has the ball, smack talk (e.g. “Merry Fucking Christmas” – Larry Bird), legacy, and of course, Swaggy P, in the NBA is just unparalleled. 

UNC-Duke? Please. Give me ‘Cats-‘Zards instead any day of the week.

Everyone, including you, looks like a douchebag – Something my friends and I enjoy is making fun of other people we don’t know. If you’ve never done it, I’d recommend it highly. It’s exquisite.

These situations arise constantly. Bars, in particular, are great places to see people make idiots out of themselves. People dress in ridiculous outfits, all while taking themselves extremely seriously. They blatantly hit on the opposite sex in ways that makes it completely obvious to the perceptive observer that they’re trying to look cool. They make comments that they wouldn’t make, had they not been so thirsty earlier that night.

Ohh, those snippets of conversation that you hear out of context. So glorious. So much fodder for comedy. Situations perfectly primed for judging.

Despite my insistence on ruthlessly mocking these people, though, I’m always aware that somewhere in the same room, I’m being mocked by a different group of patriots. They’re pointing out how my shorts and Timbs make an absurd outfit. I get judged by a second clique for having gel in my hair. A member of a third gang overhears me say “Do you guys think the Dothraki play H-O-R-S-E? Or would they pick a different animal?” walks back to his friends, and says “Those nerds are talking about Lord of the Rings!”

Here’s the point, kids. Yes, that guy jumping excitedly to Lady Gaga is a douchebag, but that doesn’t mean you aren’t one too.

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