This blog is X-rated â€“ Dual meaning. First, it contains coarse language intended for mature or immature audiences, depending on perspective. Secondly, it is compliments of X Fitness and intended to lift you. There are enough depressing people and stories. I wonâ€™t contribute to them.
Iâ€™m not making this up. This is a true story.
In 2001, I answered a phone call in the middle of the afternoon. I was in my office at a community college where I was program coordinator and professor. I had worked there since 1990. I wasnâ€™t a rookie. I was an experienced veteran. I had paid my dues. The college had paid me my dues. It was a reciprocal agreement but instead of an agreement of understanding, it turned out to be an agreement of misunderstanding.
It was the Dean calling to scold me for not attending a â€œWelcome Breakfast for the New Chair.â€ DÃ©jÃ vu. I had a flashback to being seven years-old, Â and my poor, immigrant, illiterate father scolding me, in Italian, â€œDid you say hello to your aunt?â€ A wave to your Zia wasnâ€™t enough. Non-verbal greeting was an embarrassment to Antonio. â€œChe vergognaâ€ was the official statement. â€œWhat an embarrassmentâ€™â€™ for not greeting Zia according to protocol.
The Dean asked for the reason why I had been a missing person. His call was intended as a show of executive force, a topic that must have been discussed at executive meetings since my being labeled as difficult to manage â€œWho does he think he is missing a Welcome Breakfast for the New Chair?â€
This was my answer verbatim – four reasons:
#1. â€œI donâ€™t eat that crap food because it poisons my system.â€
#2. â€œI have real work to do.â€
#3. â€œI donâ€™t attend social events, especially at work.â€
#4.Â â€œIâ€™ve had a new boss every year since Iâ€™ve been here. I will become obese again if I go to Welcome Breakfasts and eat stale donuts and muffins.â€
I said good-bye and hung up. A couple days later, the Deanâ€™s secretary saw me standing in line at the coffee shop and said, â€œIt was brought up at an executive meeting that you hung up on The Dean without saying good-bye.â€ I pleaded innocent and the secretary promised to defend me by telling The Dean that I did in fact say good-bye before I hung up.
The new Chair didnâ€™t care. We worked well together. I didnâ€™t go out of my way to make life hell for the new Chair. The Chair later told me executives had labeled me an â€œassholeâ€ because I didnâ€™t attend lunches, breakfast, social events, and other â€œteamâ€ events and that he defended me, arguing in my favour/favor that I wasnâ€™t an asshole. I thanked him for backing me up but deep down I didnâ€™t care.
The scolding for missing the Welcome Breakfast is another in the endless examples of professional peer pressure, where my workplace bosses worked harder for control and conformity than actually doing their jobs. Peer pressure doesn’t end in high school. Long after, your biggest fight is being your true self, holding on to your beliefs, instead of being held back by those who want to hold you back in their hell-hole of miserable attitudes.
When I was a cop between 1975-1990, I put an end to cop workplace peer pressure regarding shift parties and junior-high questions about why I didnâ€™t drink. I went to my last shift party when I was 22, my fourth year as a cop. I got wasted. I called my pregnant wife to pick me up. I got sick and vomited in the car. Then I vomited on the side of the road. My hang-over was hell. Then my squats and bench press went to hell. Studies have shown that one drunken episode will push back your workouts three weeks. You waste three weeks of workouts for getting wasted. That hangover was another case of dÃ©jÃ vu. I felt weak like when I started working out as an obese, dysfunctional 12-year old.
I quit drinking that night. I have not had an ounce of alcohol since that night in 1979 for the following reasons:
- I felt exactly the same hell as the hell I had escaped from in high school – peer pressure to drink until you got wasted. Peer pressure to join the crowds and be an asshole to get “likes.” There was no Facebook in the 1970â€™s but the addictions to “likes” was the same. Approval junkies are the same today as back then. Nothing has changed except the numbers. Today, you can quantify your “likes” in a vain attempt to fill psychological voids.
- Lifting was a matter of life and death then and now. I refused to waste three weeks of workouts for the sake of parties and puking.
- I was scared to death of returning to my 12-year old obese, dysfunctional self. I had made a pledge in 1969 to never be called a â€œfat fuckâ€ again.
- I pledged not be a hypocrite to my football team when I taught them our #1 Team Rule â€“ â€œGet out of the bar, get under the bar.â€
- I pledged never to let my daughters see me in the same condition as the drunks I had arrested in bar fights, domestic fights, and behind the wheel of a car. I pledged never to get wasted and call people out with the standard 1970â€™s drunks’ fight song – â€œCome on, fucking pig, letâ€™s see how tough you are?â€
Soon after my last shift party I was tested by a co/cop-workerâ€™s peer-pressure after our platoon briefing at the beginning of a midnight shift. He asked me why I didnâ€™t go to shift parties any more. I told him I quit drinking and quit shift partying. His reply, â€œSo now youâ€™re a full-fledge freak with no life.â€ Then it happened. I used, â€œGo fuck yourselfâ€ in the workplace for the first time. My excuse: Culture Shock. I believed I had escaped high school, but I was right back in it, only in different clothes. The same ass-backward mentality â€“ not getting wasted was no life to those who had no life. Not ramming chicken wings and junk food was no life to those with no life. Those with no life couldnâ€™t positively identify a real life because of they couldnâ€™t deal with real-life.
I loved it. â€œGo fuck yourselfâ€ became a habit. I was rewarded each time I said it because it worked. It was vile, immature profanity – on the same level as being called â€œfucking pigâ€ at bar fights, domestic fights, and by drunk drivers. But it became my default response in a culture of juvenile peer pressure. You really do sink to the level of your environment.
To my credit, I never told The Dean, â€œGo fuck yourself.â€ I thought it. I held back just like the peer pressure that tries to hold back your true self.Â Peer pressure doesnâ€™t end on a high school stage with a high school diploma. It follows you around forever, in grown-up clothes. Peer pressure is a battle of the mind. Its attempted theft – one mind trying to steal another mind because of what someone thinks is good for you. If you lose the fight against peer pressure, you lose your mind – your identity, your true self, and your thought process. When that happens, you relinquish control over your actions to those who canâ€™t control themselves but try to control others as compensation. Once you lose your mind, you become a follower who blends into the mainstream. You dissolve without a trace, never standing out because you will never stand up for yourself. You will never stand up to anyone who is pressuring you to do what you donâ€™t want to do.
The fight to let your true self grow and manifest never stops. My number one objective as a football coach and college professor is the same – encourage young people to fight peer pressure. Stand up and fight the temptation to fall victim to peer pressure that tries to hold you back in the pack. The fight isnâ€™t easy. You will likely be outnumbered because peer pressure usually originates in a herd. Mob mentality. The good news is that you have what it takes not to give in.
This is a copyrighted excerpt of a book Iâ€™m writing called The Mystery of Murder: Working with the Dead. The copyright is owned by X Fitness and Jordan Publications who are committed to lift. More blogs and more Blunt Talk Podcasts this week will be devoted to help you fight to keep your true self and not give into peer pressure that causes the dread of cognitive dissonance, the inner hell that will burn you up unless you replace it with a fire that will lift you up.
Blessings and all good things.
Gino Arcaro M.Ed., B.Sc., Level 3 NCCP (Natâ€™l Coaching Certification Program)
Head coach â€“ Niagara X-men football
Owner – X Fitness Inc.
Host – BLUNT TALK PODCAST http://blunttalk.libsyn.com/
Gino Arcaro is a widely published author. His website, blog, Youtube channel, and list of SWAT FOOTBALL Books are at: www.ginoarcaro.com
His books include:
4th & hell: seasons 1 and 2, Soul of a Lifter, SWAT Offense, SWAT Defense, SWAT Tackling Video & e-book, Â X Fitness Workout System, and a 3 business book series called Soul of an Entrepreneur
He also has written 20 editions of 6 law enforcement academic textbooks. A new 8-volume interrogation book series will be released in 2014. And just released, a new childrenâ€™s book called â€œBE FIT â€“ DONâ€™T QUIT.â€ The first stage of his new Blunt Talk e-books is now for sale. His latest book on human potential called â€œHashtag Peaceâ€ is at the editing stage. He is writing three other non-fiction novels book called The Mystery of Murder: Working with the dead, Midnight Shift from hell, and Another Bar Fight.
His SWAT FOOTBALL BOOKS are at: