I like to help my friends. I just wish they would be more deliberate in their asking for my help. Here’s what I mean: If they need my help to empty their septic tank, they should simply ask, “Hey, Daren, could you help me dig up my septic tank on Saturday?”
Then I can reply, “Oh. I’m busy.” And we can get on with our lives. It’s simple.
Instead, I hear (too often):
“Hey, Daren… ya got any plans for Saturday?”
“How’s your back and leg strength these days?”
“Ya ever use a shovel?”
Why? What’s going on here? Are you asking me to bury a body or something?
“Oh no… no… no!
Then What do you want?
“Have you ever used a wheelbarrow?”
Why do they dance around the actual question? I’ll tell you why – because they feel like if they outright ask me, I’ll come up with an excuse and say NO. And that is SO TOTALLY TRUE. So their insight and wisdom should be applauded, but I resent their manipulation!
Then there are some people who are like telemarketers! Their strategy seems to be that if they can get me to say the word “Yes” enough, then when they get to their actual pitch, I’ll be more inclined to say “Yes” and sign up or buy or do whatever they’re asking:
Are you around this weekend?
Have you ever worked in your lifetime, like, ever?
Do you know me?
Can you state the opposite of “no”?
And it is?
Have you ever been a human child?
Do you have a mother?
Do you like the smell of good smelling things?
Do you enjoy enjoyment?
Does pain hurt you?
Am I talking right now?
Did you just say, “yes”?
Can you translate the French word oui into English?
Please do so.
Do you ever sleep?
Do you eat?
Was there an ‘80’s song titled “Owner of a Lonely Heart”?
Who performed that song?
Are we having a conversation right now?
How about now?
Would you help me move to Chicago this weekend?
Argh! I had you on the ropes!
Yes. That was quite an onslaught. Now, shut up.
Next, my friend Sara Shea calls into the show. Her first album (possibly titled “Daren Streblow Is My Inspiration”) will be released soon, but meanwhile, she’s just doing her best to keep cool.
Which is a tough task while juggling her career, raising her kids and all the other activities that clog her calendar. So, she has taken efforts to prioritize her life. In doing so, she has narrowed down three main goals to focus on:
- To keep her kids off of drugs. But not by the traditional “Just Say No” methods. That’s simply not good enough. If someone were to offer her kids drugs, she would like her children to just say “No, thank you.” Why not hit two birds with one stone and incorporate some manners into her anti-drug campaign, right? Her kids could remain complimentary, “How kind of you. I understand meth is quite expensive these days and you obviously have spent quite a small fortune on this that you are offering me. I appreciate all that, but thank you… no.”
- To keep her kids out of jail. Once her first goal is firmly in place, then meeting her second objective should be a bit easier. Not that a little prison time wouldn’t build character in her young ones, but it simply logistics. The visiting hours at state prisons are so restricted. It’s simply too difficult to squeeze in visiting hours into her already packed schedule. It’s not like State Pen has a Fastpass system for busy moms.
- Thirdly, she’d like to prevent her kids from becoming “Goths”. Not that Gothic culture is an altogether bad thing or that Goths are bad people. There’s simply too much makeup that needs to be applied. This is a fashion trend that is simply too time consuming. It’ll take away from their study hours. And all that heavy, layered clothing is simply too cumbersome – especially during the summer months. And, I don’t think you’re allowed to be only a “cold-season-goth”. It seems to be a year-round commitment. It’s simply inconvenient.
But, if Sara can achieve these three goals, I think her family’s life will be very fun, entertaining and satisfying… if not simply safe.
Finally, author and speaker John Driver joins the show. John recently co-wrote “Diary Of A Jackwagon” with my buddy Tim Hawkins – which is a feat unto itself, as I didn’t think Tim was literate. John’s writing career actually started back in college writing music, not so much literature. He and comedian Johnny W. wrote songs together back at The University of Tennessee, Knoxville in a band called Scarlet Thread. Since writing college-rock music, John has gone on to write a dozen books!
According to John, his leap from writing power ballads to novels is a bit like moving from poetry to science in many ways. In songwriting – like comedy – there is such an “economy of words”, in that each word and word placement has to be perfect in order for the work to be right. Book writing, for John, is a lot more disciplined. Instead of penning a song of 200 words, he’s writing books of over 50,000 words… and expounding on each of them.
But, he’s just crazy enough to love it!
Give John an “unconnected / internet-free” international airport terminal and he’s in heaven! He can knock out thousands upon thousands of insightful words if he can just get unplugged for a few hours. Which is a rare blessing. Or, as John puts it, there’s a fine line between mental illness and brilliance. And he tends to dance along that line.
One thing he attributes his success to is the motto: Don’t let your passing thoughts pass on by. If you don’t capture your fleeting thoughts and write them down, then these seeds of inspiration will just float away along with everything else you forget in your life.
He met Tim through their mutual friend Johnny W and over the course of a breakfast and a few comedy tour dates, the two hit it off and began writing together. The ultimate result was, as John puts it, “pure stupidity in 200 pages!” They had nothing but fun from start to finish. The key was simply letting Tim be Tim and John’s trick was putting together all the random pieces into a fun, laughter inducing puzzle!
Next up, John, Reggie Dabbs and Thomas Nelson are collaborating on a project together. Now, for those who aren’t familiar with Reggie, he is one of the greatest speakers to students in the entire nation. No one can charge up a gymnasium full of teenagers and inspire them to greatness quite like Reggie Dabbs. Over the years, Reggie has received thousands of letters and email from young adults and their parents from all over the globe regarding a variety of different issues that today’s youth deal with. So, the team has chosen 21 of these letters and addressed them in their upcoming book and take a hard look at things like: suicide, abuse, depression, bullying and more. It’s tragic stuff. But, after the hard look, John, Reggie and Thomas provide hope in these tough situations. Well, actually, the hope comes from much more than these three guys. Some of it comes straight out of the letters they received.
For instance, one letter came from a young man who was planning on committing suicide the day that Reggie spoke at his school. But, after hearing Reggie’s message, the boy realized that he is loved and that he could go on.
The book is well rounded, written for teens and young adults as much as it is aimed at parents, pastors and professionals who work with this young generation. It’s filled with every emotion across the spectrum and is wrapped up in a hope that exceeds it all!