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The Fine Art of Getting Your Ass Kicked

I’m good at a few things. These are listed below, not necessarily in order of priority or importance.

  1. Getting my ass kicked.
  2. Being funny. I know because my Mom told me I’m funny, so…
  3. Writing stories.
  4. Turning a simple story or concept into an impossibly long monologue.

Remember that horrible song from Chumba Wumba? I get knocked down? The whole song went “I get knocked down but I get up again.” There was also a bunch of stuff about being an alcoholic.

The absolute worst thing that has ever happened to me in my life was spending a few years with all of these different people telling me that this was their theme song. This would have been true if the song actually went “I get knocked down… and then I walk around complaining to everyone about how I got knocked down to garner sympathy.” Bear in mind I’ve kind of had a rough life (aside from being born with movie star good looks) so that’s really saying something.

I’ve been involved in combatives for most of my life, and a big part of that is getting used to getting hit and yes, knocked down. When people think about this concept of getting knocked down and then getting back up I think it’s played out in the mind as this triumphant return and now I will be victorious! No man, it’s so that you can get knocked down again. The whole purpose of getting back up in the midst of the learning cycle is so that you can get knocked down again. Why? This is how we learn, and how one day we get knocked down slightly less. Hopefully, when it actually matters.

Being funny is the same way. Sure there are some outliers who just have “it” and never have to practice. For the rest of us it was a matter of spending years (possibly decades) being really NOT funny. You have to get in a lot of reps of being embarrassed in a very public way so that you know what works and what doesn’t on real people, versus just yourself in the mirror or your dog. Dogs are easy to make laugh because they are all Benny Hill fans. #themoreyouknow I mean you really have to take some sharp knives to the face before you figure our how to make people laugh. Even then, not everyone will get your humor, and you have to be okay with that too. Part of that process of getting repeatedly stabbed in the face by blank stares and the absence of laughter is about developing a thick skin and being okay with the reality that not everyone will like you. I’m told. Everyone likes me, so I never had to deal with that. Once again, I know because my Mom told me.

Stripped down to it’s bare bones, this concept applies to pretty much everything you do. I spent a lot of time in the Marines getting my ass kicked before I was ever allowed to give an order. Even then it probably wasn’t the best idea.

Life and learning aren’t about the glory of “getting back up”, it’s more about being okay with forever being in that learning process, and understanding the value in it. If you must insist on trying to get to a place where you stop getting your ass kicked all the time, you better make sure they bury you face up.