Happy Sunday, everyone! This marks #3 of 100 in the 💯 Stories in 💯 Days series. Yesterday we dove into The Story Behind The Stories
. Just in case you missed it, this is the same list as my regular email list. I’m going to split it out as soon as I can fix an issue with my email service provider. Please hang on in the meanwhile, as unsubscribing here will make you lose the weekly edition, too! 🤞Hoping this will be squared away tomorrow! Today we are diving into…
Meeting Sparkle Daddy ✨
Somewhere I heard the idea that “it’s better to keep your mouth shut and let people think you’re a fool than to open it and remove all doubt.” A fool definitely said this.
The paradox is that almost everything I’ve deeply learned has come shortly after doing something foolish. Touched the hot stove, 🔥 man, that was stupid! But, I learned real quick what to do instead. It may not be the best route for enlightenment, but it seems to get me there quicker than beating off the bush. 🍆💦
Yes, I know the right expression, but I like to be crude.
Enter Sparkle Daddy ✨
When I was living in the Bay Area, sometimes I’d hang out with my buddy Ojas in downtown Mountain View. He lived in a hacker house. These houses are common in the hippie hacker zone that is the Bay Area. Living costs there make even rich people feel poor. A hacker house is a place where many unrelated people live together, hang out, and hack away on their computers.
No, this doesn’t usually involve actual malicious behavior. It often involves building things for the hell of it, a healthy disregard for authority, and high doses of creativity.
One time I was over there with Ojas, and we were having a big group meal. In walks a guy dressed like a court jester. Actually, that’s a bit tame to describe what he actually looked like. Custom sneakers. 👟 Neon, sparkly tracksuit. Hat tilted to the side. Gold, shiny, ostentatious earring, only on one side, of course.
He strolled in with the demeanor that I’d call a twist between Prince and Fred Rogers.
The dude was a character. People affectionately greeted him, “HEY, Sparkle Daddy! as if that were a normal thing.
Nobody commented on his outfit or his weird name. I wondered if I was on the receiving end of some weird joke.
There’s no way this guy was a real person.
Something was up.
The charade continued long enough to make me think that he wasn’t completely full of shit. Part of me wanted to go along with everyone and pretend this was normal. Part of me was curious what the heck was happening.
The second part won.
I went over to him and said, "dude, I have to ask, what is your story?”
It’s important to note that this was pure, child-like curiosity. I had no air of superiority. It was like going to the zoo for the first time and seeing a rhinoceros! 🦏 What the heck is that thing? How does it work? Can I pet it?
These are the moments that make my day, week, month, or year. This is the wisdom of owning my stupidity, the genius in saying the seemingly obvious, stupid, thing. It is in these moments that I learn the most. The times where I check my ego at the door and let raw, unfiltered curiosity take the wheel.
I was in for an experience I would never forget.
He said, “Well, I took a bunch of acid and then realized that I didn’t have to keep engaging in approval-seeking behavior. Once that happened, I started doing more of what I wanted to do.”
That’s it! I just need to take a bunch of acid. Ok, probably not. I have done a bunch of psychedelics and understand their transformative powers.
But really, he was on to something. He wasn’t hurting anybody. He was a walking reminder of the idea of “live and let live”. Did he look like a freak? Yes. Was he perhaps the strangest person I’ve ever seen? Yes. Did he have the weirdest name I’d ever heard? Yes. Was he hurting anybody? No. Was he offending anybody? Maybe. But, if so, that says more about them than it does about him.
He wasn’t actually doing anything wrong.
Often when I see people like that, I immediately begin constructing a story around them…
He must be a moron.
He is probably unemployed.
He definitely didn’t go to college.
All types of horseshit that is complete guesswork.
It turns out he had a super high paying job. He was working for Google at the time, helping them roll out Google stores. They needed someone different. They needed someone super creative.
In the story I made up in my head, I didn’t immediately jump to, “wow, he must be really creative!”
The Sparkle Daddies in my life are the people that break my paradigm. All the stuff I had thought about him wasn’t true. Further, by many of the arbitrary metrics of “success” that we use- employment status, income, net worth, etc., he was crushing them, or at least ahead of most people you’ll ever meet.
Meeting him opened up a new world for me. It’s possible to be weird and rich. It’s possible to be “different” and still get a regular corporate job. Once the anvil of “approval-seeking behavior” is lifted off my chest, I can be formless.
I can go back to being a human being, not a human doing, and just “be”.
Thank you, Sparkle Daddy. Thank you for existing. It is by existing that you exposed me to a new way of being, demonstrating possibility.
For that, I am forever grateful.
I hope you enjoyed reading that. Originally I titled it “The Wisdom Of Owning Your Stupidity,” but the vibe felt more like a lecture than a story. My dad said he prefers my writing when it’s more like a story than a lecture, but I didn’t really know what he meant at first. Often, I can’t hear the feedback he gives me because I get triggered– in the bear trap that is “approval-seeking behavior” , wanting only praise from the man who created me. Perhaps we will dig deeper into that, but it’s a story for another day.
I think he was telling me that I need to stick to my own insights rather than using platitudes. Maybe you’ll have the same insights as me. Maybe not. But me telling you what insights you should have doesn’t necessarily make them digestible. I definitely get pissed when people tell me how my experience is, rather than asking me how it is.
Tomorrow, we are lubing up and penetrating a story about Intellectual Masturbation: Short Story Club. I hope you enjoyed this. As always, thank you for your precious time and attention. ⏳
PS- Please tweet this bad boy if you liked reading it. Tell your friends! It may make their day, and it’d definitely make mine.
PPS- for most of my life, people have told me that I’m funny. I don’t know what to do with that, but if this made you smile, or even gave you a brief chuckle, know that doing so makes my heart happy. I sincerely hope you gain some nuggets of wisdom while enjoying the read. After all, Dave Chappelle’s comedy changed my views on the abortion debate, and I can’t help but ponder how his approach works way better than people ramming serious crap at me.