“I think that’s just an urban legend, Clint.”
“No, this guy told me it really happens.”
“It would be sexual harassment.”
“No, not if he just places it there.”
My friend Clint, who recently joined the Navy and will be working on a submarine, is telling me about a “technique” that is supposedly employed to help the newly enlisted seamen focus.
Go ahead, Clint. Tell the story in your own words:
Okay, I was told if you’re new on the submarine and asked to steer the submarine, the captain tests your focus by draping his dick on your shoulder. You can’t look at it. You can’t even act like it’s there. You just need to keep your focus.
It got me thinking.
Where’s the dick on my shoulder helping me to focus? I have my own business as a media and creative consultant and time management and self-discipline have always been a challenge for me. Don’t get me wrong – I like working. But I stray easily.
Being a surfer doesn’t help. There’s something about surfing that makes you an instant airhead – just add water. Suddenly your sole focus is to surf, drink and fuck – like, pretty much all day, every day. If you’re lucky, you travel around the world and surf, drink and fuck. And if you’re really lucky, you’re Kelly Slater and you get paid for it.
I read recently that motivation and ambition are hardwired into us, genetically. We all have varying degrees of it but it probably won’t change much in a lifetime. You won’t become suddenly ambitious, for instance.
When people ask me where I see myself in five years, I cringe and respond:
“In your pants, if I’m lucky.”
“Six feet under.” (With a forlorn sigh.)
“I want to be a fireman!” (Said with child-like zeal.)
“I'd like to break into the burger business.”
The list goes on. But perhaps these are all easy ways for me to escape much needed goal-setting. I’d like more money. I’d like recognition for my work. I’d like to own a cute house in the country with a fireplace, dogs running around and a sexy man who loves me adoringly (not in that order – the fireplace shouldn’t occupy the number one slot...or should it? Hmmm).
Write a book, I’m often told. Yeah, you write a book. Write a book for me while you're at it. People don’t understand that after years of working in the arts, writing a book has as much appeal to me as licking molten glass.
I know the behind-the-scenes work involved in it, the years put into writing, publishing, distributing and promoting it, only for it to potentially fail miserably. And why? So I can say I wrote a book? So when I die, people can mill about my wake, eating coconut-encrusted popcorn shrimp and drinking a pint of Guinness saying, “At least she wrote a book.”
When was it just enough to live?
Some days, I find it’s an accomplishment to just make my bed in the morning. I stripped the paint off of a dresser once and still consider that one of my crowning achievements. I’m excited when my car starts in the morning. Seriously. I think, “Fucking A! My life is awesome. The car started again!”
The porch light in front of my house burnt out months ago. Every time I walk by it, I think, “One of these days, I’m gonna change you, you little bitch.” I trip up the front steps and curse that light, but never my lack of drive.
It took me two years to change my cellphone plan. The prospect of it was so overwhelming and tedious, I had to build up to it, real slow-like.
See that photo of my shoulder at the top? That was done while I was talking with a client on the phone about an important project. I spend a lot of time taking random shots of myself. It's fun enough.
Maybe I need a dick on my shoulder to motivate me. One for each shoulder. But see, therein lies the rub: I’d much prefer to focus on the distracting dicks than on the task at hand.