Monday, October 29, 2007

Skipping the Post-Game Handshake

I want Tom Brady to get drilled in the knee and tear his ACL.

This is a new feeling for me, one that I'm struggling to accept. I don't particularly dislike Tom Brady, and as a former athlete I believe dirty plays are the lowest form of thuggery. However, after watching yesterday's game between the Patriots and Redskins, I have lost all respect for the Patriots organization, particularly their coach Bill Belichick, whom I had previously considered the best coach in football.

In case you haven't heard, the Pats beat up on the Skins 52-7, in a game that featured an even larger disparity than perhaps the score indicates. The lingering question from the game is whether or not the Patriots ran up the score late in the 4th quarter, breaking a unwritten rule of league etiquette.

So far the national media seems surprisingly unfazed by Belichick's decision to go for fourth down conversions up 38 and 45 points respectively. Allow me to protest then...

Sports, in its most basic capacity, serves as an outlet for competition that prevents people from using their competitive urge in a method which could prove hazardous or dangerous to those around them. The early Olympics were an effort to reduce the fighting of the various Greek nation-states by allowing them to compete against each other without death or war. As a result, the concept of sportsmanship has evolved through the centuries, so that the combatants each go home at the end of the day, beaten or victorious, but with the knowledge that they can try again next game. The respect amongst athletes gets passed down and taught to our children, as they line up and shake hands at the end of a hockey game, or when the ball is intentionally played out of bounds when a soccer player gets injured.

Belichick and the Patriots are slapping the rules of sportsmanship straight across the mouth. By leaving his all-world quarterback in the game, already up 38 points, with less than 10 minutes to go, he is telling the NFL world to go screw themselves. This attitude is most likely a response to the "Spygate" issue from the beginning of the season, and his attempt to prove that he can win without cheating. But there is winning, and winning ungracefully. Don't claim that its more insulting to kick a field goal, or that you needed to get your backup QB more work by going for it on 4th downs. Respect your opponent, respect the game, or else fear that someday it will come back on you.

The Redskins players and coaches said all the right things in postgame interviews. They had no problem with the Patriots approach, and it was their job to make the stops and get the other team off the field. But secretly, I'm certain that a few of them are mad they didn't take the effort to chase Brady down after a play, and spear him in the knee. What's a 15 yard penalty and a small fine worth compared to your dignity and honor?

It's true that I take this more personally because it happened to my beloved burgundy and gold, but the fact remains that New England has been running up the score all season against people. Sooner or later, karma is going to decide that it doesn't like to be shown up, and when that happens Bill Belichick, I hope you enjoy trying to keep Randy Moss happy when Matt Cassel can't get him the football.

Friday, October 19, 2007

How to Make a Living Without Really Trying

So some of you who follow my blog closely may be wondering how it’s possible to survive in a major metropolitan city for over a year without a real job during that time. I figured it couldn’t hurt to pull together a quick primer of pros and cons of unemployment, and some tips that can help you stretch your dollars and cents until that next gig comes along.

Pros of Being Jobless
As evidenced by the random inspiration for many of my posts in the last annum, the first benefit of being jobless is an abundance of free time. No longer are you burdened by that pesky 7am alarm going off. Want to sleep till 11? Who cares! Want to eat breakfast at 5pm in nothing but your socks? Go for it! (Just make sure your roommates aren’t coming home yet, unless they’re used to seeing you in your full glory.)

The next benefit of being jobless is the ability to focus on cultural phenomena that previously escaped your attention. Want to fully appreciate the douche-ness that is Spencer Pratt? Don’t worry; there is a marathon of The Hills on MTV approximately every 3 days. Even if you’ve missed season 1 and 2, I guarantee Viacom will help you get caught up.

Believe it or not, your friends and family will be strong advocates of your new-found freedom and liberation. Suddenly, you can take their car into the shop for that oil change they’ve been putting off, and there’s someone to pick Grandma up from her dermatologist appointment. “I know, PRSlave can do it!”

It’s not all menial labor though; your friends are usually good for a guilt trip or three.
Hey, PRSlave, want to come meet us for lunch today for X’s birthday?”
“I’d love to guys but I just don’t think I can afford it right now.”
“Don’t worry, we got you covered.”

Who doesn’t love free food?

(Note: This approach can only be used a maximum of twice per friend, unless you’re either dating them or they are a blood relation.)

A final pro is a bit dicey, but can be pulled it off if you know how to sell yourself. Apparently, there can be something attractive about the guy with no job. I don’t know if these girls are looking to rebel against their parents, (“Well dad, he has no prospects, and no way of supporting himself, but he’s really nice!”) or if they’re just charitable to the needy, but the downtrodden, emotionally drained look can work for you if need it to.

Cons of Being Jobless
Yes, it’s true. Most of the lifestyle of being unemployed is exactly as fruitless and depressing as you’d expect. I’ve outlined some of the key negatives here so perhaps any future jobseekers will avoid my mistakes.

  1. Just because you no longer have a reason to shower first thing in the morning, doesn’t mean it is okay to go more than two full days without bathing. Your roommates don’t pay to deal with the funk.
  2. Your dining trends tend to dwindle as time goes on. It’s easy to make yourself a baked chicken, couscous, and steamed broccoli for dinner when you have all day to play in the kitchen; but repeatedly dining for one gradually sees those habits fade away. Remember kids, ramen and Goldfish are NOT breakfast foods.
  3. As I’m sure many of you would expect, daytime television is not built for the under 40 set. Sure you can get caught up on every episode ever of Dawson’s Creek or 90210, but after you’ve made it through their entire catalogue, you’re stuck with watching a lot of the middle-aged career of Molly Ringwald.
  4. Despite the occasional free meal from your charitable foundation (see above), finances are genuinely tight. Random expenses like that 3-day camping trip to Atlantic City’s finest gentleman’s clubs? Sadly off the agenda…
  5. Do you have a car? Does it have four tires and a running engine? Good! Do everything in your power to keep it that way, even if it means walking 7 miles to job interviews in your only suit. Believe me, auto repair is an expense you can’t afford…
  6. Also, it’s great to have outside interests to deflect your attention, team sports are a good way to be social and see your friends without having to blow a lot of cash, but if you do play sports, don’t get hurt! You’ll never know if that sore knee is a torn ACL, because you don’t have Cobra anymore to make the hospital run.

Other random tips to stretch the almighty unemployment dollar:

  • Be careful about taking freelance work. The additional paycheck will allow your unemployment income to last longer, but sometimes two small paychecks don’t equal one mediocre one.
  • Chinese food makes a fantastic series of meals. One delivery order is usually good for 2 to 4 meals. As does pizza… always get the breadsticks/cheesesticks add-on.
  • Always pull the double feature. The best time to see a movie is mid-day on a weekday. Catch the 12:30 show (matinee pricing), and sneak into a second movie when the first one ends. Movie prices are so extortionate these days, they owe you the extra flick!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

One Year, Seven Days, and Fifteen Hours Later...

I'm officially back in the game. PRSlaveDC is a PRSlave once again. Well, sort of...

Monday I returned to full-time, totally salaried employment, although in a far different communications capacity than I have worked for in the past. It's a good change though, it should be much lower-pressure, more opportunity to work outside the box, and technically my association (no more clients!) represents the good guys, so I can fall asleep with a healthy conscience.

I'm not going to get into the specific job, as I've read how that's bitten many a blogger in the backside before, but I will say I'm representing a field I know fairly little about, and I'm excited by the prospect of being both the senior and junior staffer all at the same time.

I know I haven't posted all that much lately, and you guys may have to do without the random breakdowns of why classic chick flicks are anti-male for a while, since I'll have far less time to watch bad television. But hopefully this transition will lead to a bit sunnier, smilier PRSlaveDC, and future posts will be full of fuzzy bunnies and chocolate rainbows.

In conclusion, if any of you are going through an uncomfortable employment situation/transition, allow me to speak from personal experience. The best thing you can do, is rely on your friends to help distract you and remind you that you're probably quite capable and qualified for your desired position, it just may take the various Human Resources offices of the city a while to catch on that themselves.

It's never quite as bad as it seems, and there's always someone in your life who is willing to buy you lunch just to see a smile on your face once in a while. Try to remember to thank those people...