And it’s long overdue.
See, for most of my life I’ve been told I was a great writer.
I think the first time I remember my writing skill being recognized was in 1st grade when my teacher took my classroom journal and shared it with the other teachers in our grade because she was so impressed with what I had written.
Now this could have been for two reasons:
1.) I had developed a knack for reading and writing at a very young age thanks to two older brothers, Dr. Seuss, Highlights magazines, and countless hours playing JumpStart CD Roms.
2.) She was shocked that one of her students had chosen to write a detailed account of Abraham Lincoln’s life, and eventual death through assassination (I went through a big Lincoln-phase at a very young age).
Regardless, it was safe to say that what I was putting down on paper was different from the other thumb-suckers in class.
While I enjoyed writing in these early days, it wasn’t until middle school that I realized the true power my writing had: making people laugh.
And I don’t mean that in the super corny, wholesome way that I liked making people smile and feel good — it was actually a lot more selfish. I liked the validation of knowing that I was funny.
We would have daily journaling assignments in 7th grade English class every day to kick things off, and the teacher would let the brave volunteers read their journals up at the front of the room. And I realized this was my stage.
I would take simple writing assignments like “Write a story about your favorite Christmas memory” and turn it into “The time I helped the cops bust Santa for breaking-and-entering, leading to his lengthy prison sentence”.
It was your typical middle school BS, but people ate it up — which lead me to writing more and more ridiculous stuff for a laugh (sometimes going a bit too niche with the jokes and missing the target big time).
At the end of the year, we had 1-on-1s with the teacher to go over the work we’d done that year, and I vividly remember my teacher Ms. Graykowski telling me: “Please do something with writing in your life”.
So what did I do?
Like any teenager getting honest advice from an adult mentor, I ignored it completely.
Despite continuing to excel at writing in high school (and making people laugh with it), when it came time for college I went into business school… because that’s what you’re supposed to do, right?
And instead of pursuing a minor in something that I actually enjoyed, I chose to not minor in anything and filled up my schedule with bullshit electives like Yoga 101, The History of Rap, and The Mafia and Other Italian Mysteries (all real courses that I actually took).
I still wrote in college — essays, reports, speeches. But nothing fun.
The closest I got to it was the one writing course I forced myself into, Creative Writing. This actually allowed me to flex my creative muscles for the first time in a long time, but I definitely felt limited in how funny I could be.
We were writing meaningful, short-stories and I was going through a phase where I would get super high and try to write something incredibly profound.
I submitted this story about this guy that found a beautiful woman unconscious on the beach, and when she came to she couldn’t speak — so they spent the next couple of hours walking the shore together in silence and witnessing all the man-made pollution and all the other on-the-nose metaphors I could come up with, until it was time for them to say goodbye where she walks into the ocean and disappears.
Because she was a mermaid.
Funny enough, the class debated on the meaning of the story like it was something super-deep commentary on society and not just some absolute shite that came out of my THC-abused brain.
I even had this one vampire-looking guy come up to me after class and tell me he wanted to make my story into a short film for his other class — but I think he was hitting on me and the vibes were off, so I politely declined.
I knew though that I could at least still write.
Eventually I graduated, struggled to find my feet for awhile, and finally latched on at some very low-level sales job selling ads in the Classifieds section of a Chicago newspaper (yes, newspapers still existed in 2019).
Truly, as someone who graduated from a top business school in the country, I should not have been working there — but as fate would have it, I was.
At this time, I quickly realized a few things:
1.) I hate my job and I hate sales.
2.) This company is kind of a joke.
3.) I can get away with putting in very limited effort and spend my days doing other shit on my computer and still get paid for it.
And this lead me back to writing.
It started off with typing long, nonsense paragraphs into the body of an email to make it look like I was busy at work and make time go by faster.
Which progressed into me researching how to blog, and starting to write movie reviews to get back my brain back into writing shape.
There was even a couple of chapters of a nerdy fan-fiction in there at some point.
But the pièce de résistance was when I started writing weekly Fantasy Football recaps for the League I ran with my friends.
As Commissioner, I took/take my duties very seriously — which means making the League as fun and enjoyable as possible for everyone. So what I started doing was after every week of matchups, I would go through and write a paragraph about each game: who won, who was the leading scorer, etc.
The twist was, that I would then sprinkle in some of the darkest, most incredibly problematic jokes poking fun at my friends, current events, and pop culture.
And wouldn’t you know it, people were laughing at my writing again.
So there’s your happy ending (and hopefully finally the end of this blog), right?
See, while I found my creative voice and love for writing again in those Fantasy Football recaps — it was something I only shared with those 11 other guys.
All the thoughts of actually blogging for public view, all the times I watched/read something from Barstool and thought ‘I could do that’ — I never acted on it.
Part of it was probably fear of failure. Fear of embarrassment. Just generally being lazy and complacent.
Life changed. I got a much better job that kept me from doing bullshit while I was working. I moved in and got engaged to my fiancé putting my priorities in new places. I accepted that I probably would only write dumb little quips to my friends in a Fantasy League until I got old and got tired of that too.
Until last week…
Last week I tuned into something called Barstool Idol — a hilariously dumb competition Barstool runs to find their next on-camera talent.
And there I met John Rich.
There was nothing super special about this John Rich character. He was basically just a blogger and a really big Barstool fan.
But over the course of a couple days he became a favorite among the Barstool Idol judges for his humor and writing ability (especially his blog about raisins).
Long story short… he didn’t win the competition because he wasn’t really seen as someone who would be great on-camera talent.
BUT. He instead received an instant job offer from Dave Portnoy himself because of the potential they saw in him as a blogger.
It was a really cool moment to me.
The judges on the show talked a ton about the people who send them messages and say ‘I’m so funny – I should work at Barstool’ — but they emphasized that those people never put in actual work to give themselves a case for why they should work there.
And for some reason that struck a nerve.
What I think I liked so much about his story, is that he didn’t seem so different from me.
He was funny (but from what I saw he wasn’t that much funnier than me).
He was a good writer (but from what I read he wasn’t that much of a better writer than me).
He liked Barstool (and honestly is probably a bigger Stoolie than me).
Only difference is he had a blog.
So what’s the point of all this rambling?
This is going to sound cliché, but seeing someone who is like me go for something and succeed and achieve their dream gave me perspective.
I have this vision of what I can do, and yet I haven’t even been trying to do it.
Honestly this isn’t even about me trying to follow in anyone’s footsteps to get a job at Barstool or even trying to make anyone laugh this time.
No. This is me finally say I am fucking done putting off something that I should have been doing a long time ago because I am scared or I am lazy or I am finding any other excuse to not do it.
This is me trying.
And despite writing way too long for my very first entry, and putting several hours into something that no one will probably ever read.
I blog now.