I Told You So: Top Gun

June 28, 2014


I watched a lot of inappropriate television as a child. I’d stand with a finger on the cable box, my face nearly pressed to the screen, inhaling violence, boobs, simulated sex, and swearing as if it were my last meal. Which it would be if my mother caught me. Hence the finger on the button. The moment I’d hear her on the stairs, I’d flip the channel and feign an air of casual boredom until she finally came in the room to check on me.

“There’s nothing good on, so I’m just flipping around.”

I honestly don’t know if she had any clue of what I was up to. She did seem surprised when she sat me down to have, “The Talk” and I, with a blasé air of worldliness and a dismissive wave of my hand, told her I already knew all about sex. I then launched into a lecture of how the man and woman get naked and kiss and rub all over each other a lot. However, I wasn’t really sure what a woman’s breasts had to do with getting pregnant, so maybe she would be so kind as to clear that up for me?

Yes, I was a precocious kid with rather, um, sophisticated tastes in movies. This was never more evident than when I went for a sleepover when visiting my cousin, Abby, and her friend in 7th grade.  At the video store, I suggested two terrific movies: April Fool’s Day—which if you Google it, you will recognize as being wholly inappropriate for people in general—and Tom Cruise, er, Top Gun.

To make a moderately long story short, half way through the nudity, swearing, and scary violence of April Fool’s Day, our friend’s mother decided that we’d seen enough and, as she fixed me with a wary eye, popped Top Gun into the VCR player and promptly left the room. Honestly, I think she just didn’t want to know. I was glad she made the decision to switch movies, too, because in the privacy of my own suspiciously unsupervised home, the silly trifle that was April Fool’s Day took on an embarrassing and wildly inappropriate tone when sharing it with my peers. (Although, let’s be honest: Abby had furtively watched far worse with me at my house. Hotel New Hampshire, anyone?) And with relief all around that the decision had been made for us, we settled in to the couch again and enjoyed Tom Cruise and the guys from Nerds and Real Genius, respectively, play volleyball on the beach and zoom around the air in fighter jets.

More than 25 years after that incident, I sat down—somewhat hang-doggedly—to enjoy a Top Gun retrospective on Netflix and discovered something very surprising: the movie actually had a plot, with mystery and tension and conflict and stuff. And that Tom Cruise was really hot. Although that part’s not so surprising, because we already knew that.

Amiright, ladies?

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“Life’s too short to hang out with people who aren’t resourceful.”

~Jeff Bezos

There is one common trait that all successful entrepreneurs share and it’s probably not what you think. No, it’s not a winning smile or an outgoing personality. (Although that certainly has helped me. Wink wink.) It’s not even a background in business, sales, or marketing. It’s resourcefulness. All of the successful solopreneurs and small business owners I know are also some of the most resource-savvy people I know.

It breaks my heart to see new entrepreneurs flounder and fail when setting up their businesses—missing out on opportunities, struggling with confidence, and taking class after class to try and fill in perceived gaps of knowledge from other subject matter experts. Don’t get me wrong: It’s not that there isn’t a lot to be gained from experts on subjects with which we aren’t familiar.  But when we take such classes from a place of perceived helplessness, they are merely compounding the problem. We forget our inherent ability and the biological imperative we all share not only to survive in this world, but also to thrive.  And how do we do that? Well, we learn how to use our resources, people.

How to Be Resourceful

Be Curious.

Remember when you were a kid and you’d ask, “why? why? why?” a thousand times, why? (And your mother would sigh deeply, roll her eyes, and then tell you to go look it up. Or was that just my mom?) Well that gift will serve you well, my friend, even as an adult. My insatiable curiosity has driven me to embrace a child-like interest in the world around me and to seek the answers to the questions of my life like a bear searches for sweet, sweet honey. Whether it’s why an aardvark looks so flippin’ weird or how to become a baby panda handler, I’ve used the Five Ws + H (Who, What, When, Where, Why + How) I learned in grade school to help me figure out the answers to all of life’s Googlable questions.

Speaking of Google…

“Search Engine” it.

I remember when I discovered the internet and opened Mosaic (an ancient web browser, if such a thing exists) for the first time. The World Wide Web!? A giant database of knowledge zooming around the world in a series of tubes? Sign me up!   Back in the day, when I would spend hours searching the internet on a wide array of topics, the search results were spotty and it was much harder to find appropriately topical information. But then, God created Google. (and on the 7th day? We searched.)  The truth is that internet search engines are your friend. Hell, be it email, in-app help documents, or a good old fashioned encyclopedia, search functionality in general is your friend!

I’m always floored by how many simple, easily searchable questions I have been asked throughout my career and how, as a result of my own curiosity and passion for information, people think I know everything. I mean, I’m smart and have a knack for retaining even the most banal celebrity trivia (Harrison Ford used to be a carpenter!), but most of the time when someone asks a question I don’t know the answer to? I just look it up. And voila! I’m a “genius” who “rocks”. Yeah, that’s right, Mick Jagger: reference librarians and I are the rockstars now. [click to continue…]

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The Quietest Thing

March 26, 2014

  The room was solemn, tinged by a slight air of impatience. Or maybe that was just coming from within me. I had cried so hard that day that my contacts floated out of my eyes twice, and now… nothing. I was wrung out like the old rag that hung on the sink, my insides [...]

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I Told You So: The Happiest Moment

February 2, 2014

  The Happiest Moment of My Life was an ordinary moment. I hadn’t been feeling well and got sick. After taking a shower, I was lying on the floor, staring at a dog’s slightly skunk-smelling butt (long story), and I felt like a million bucks. I had nowhere to be but right there on the [...]

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I Told You So: The More You Know…

December 27, 2013

  Gentle Reader: Welcome to how my brain works. Seemingly random bits of information that all make sense to me. What do funny cat videos have to do with our thoughts? Everything and nothing. P.S. All facts are true as I know them to be. Especially about cat videos. They are funny.

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On God

December 7, 2013

  My relationship with God has always been somewhat complicated. I wasn’t raised in a particular religion or faith. While my father had been raised Catholic and my mother Presbyterian, I wasn’t baptized or confirmed or communed. I’m fairly certain that in most Christian circles, it means I’m a heathen. When I was growing up, [...]

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