Street Sweeper, Baby

A co-worker told me recently that I’m just like Jon Snow, a bit naive but a great leader.

I’ll take the compliment.

I don’t agree with why he said it.  Our discussion was about people and the general intent for just about everything we do.

I believe most plans or actions made by human beings that result in catastrophe originate from pure motives.

Co-worker disagreed me and called me naive.  But he called me Jon Snow so it’s all good.

Now that I think of it… what an excellent way to point out a character flaw!

“Hey man…. you are just the worst person I’ve ever met, and I really hate you.  You are a disgrace to humanity, and I question daily why God wanted you here… but sometimes when the sun is in my face and I have to squint, and you’re a pretty good distance from me, and if you grew your hair out, you remind me of Jon Snow sort of.”

Alright… I can live with that.

I am naive, though.

When I was roughly 12-years-old  I desperately wanted to be cool (shocking piece of information: I wasn’t always this cool).

Back then, cool was listening to Nelly and Eminem (Marshall Mathers, Slim Shady, etc).  So listen to them, I did.

And I knew every word to every song on the 2 CDs I had.

But the albums were edited due to explicit content.  So I knew when to stop singing along and when to make a weird scratchy noise.

It had to be difficult to edit some of those songs… I know in certain instances there was just music for like 10 seconds.

Then a word like “and”

Then 10 more seconds of just music.

The funny part, and the part that made me naive, is that I didn’t know what was being said in the uncut versions.

No idea.  I didn’t even know there was a different version.  It took a very long time before I found out I was listening to a “clean” version.

I don’t even know how long it was… but it was probably when Ned told me I was dumb for not knowing.  Ned always had some good jokes.

I was so far behind.  I didn’t know anything about what was going on in the world.  I didn’t know trends.  I didn’t know fads.  I didn’t know fashion.  I didn’t know anything!

I was good at school though… Around the World in 3rd grade? I almost got all the way around the room.  I was 2 people away from returning to my desk.  No one else had gone more than 2 spots.  And we had 30 kids in a classroom!

I lost on 13-8=??…

5… the answer is 5… and I wasn’t quick enough…

But anyway.  I knew some school.  I just didn’t know anything else.

But… if you could see me now!  I am obviously up to date with the latest fashions…


Everyone else wears gym shorts and t-shirts all the time, right?  Sweat pants in cooler weather?

An interesting thing about fashion… you guys notice how kids these days are wearing the tall socks with shorts?  Yea, that isn’t new.  I’ve been doing that since high school.  I guess it must’ve caught on, finally.

It compliments the calves!

Smokin’ Hot Wife doesn’t believe that I started that.  And she shouldn’t.

Because I didn’t.

But there were 4 guys who were a few years younger than me and played football with me in high school who did start it.

And I’ll take that to the grave!

But leather jackets are coming back into style.  I’ll take full credit for that one.

Anyway, I was naive.  Still am to some degree.

But a life lesson that I have discovered in very recent times is that nothing should be mistaken as common knowledge.  And I hate when anyone tries to act like it is.

May I please generalize?  Everyone knows that the sun is the sun.

That’s not what I mean.

Does everyone know where Istanbul is?  No.  (Just looked it up.  It’s in Turkey.  I thought it was in Russia.  Point proven.)

Does everyone know the difference in metric vs standard units of measurement?  No.  (The US makes this extra difficult by the way.  We’re like the only ones still using standard)

Does everyone know the slope intercept formula?  No.  In particular, my ex-students at my first job out of college.  Didn’t matter how many times I told them.

NOTHING is common knowledge.  We cannot expect people to just know things.

Please stop making people feel stupid for not knowing something that you just happen to know.

I’m talking to you, IT folks!  No, I don’t know what you’re talking about.  Dumb it down as if you were speaking to a child learning for the first time.  And stop using big words.

And brush ya teeth!

I digress.

(I’ve been using that word for years… Just now looked it up… Never have used it correctly… But it works here…)

So… point!  I have one.  Promise.

I have always been naive.  And you can’t expect anyone to just know something.


My mother’s financial situation:

Only last night was I made aware of something very important about my mother and her raising us.

She had no leadership.

I knew that.  But it never struck me as relevant to her financial issues.

Mama said I have to be positive when I talk about this so… She WILL be debt free.  And it IS in the foreseeable future.

I’m not only saying that because my Mama told me to.  I’m also saying it because I believe it.

I’m not sure how this message will be received, because it will be directed towards men and women who are significantly older than me.  And I’m not so sure how I would take advice from a child.  But parents of teenagers, I’m talking to you.

Forgiveness has already been granted here and no bitterness remains.  But growing up, I was never made aware of the extent of my mother’s debt.

I knew she was broke.  But I just thought everybody said that.

Now, I’m not saying I needed to know as a very young child.  It’s probably best that I wasn’t.

Use your own judgement when dealing with your own children.  If you see that your 10-year-old is wise beyond his years, maybe bring it up to him then.

I can’t put a specific year on it.  Obviously.  My only child is not even 2.  I can’t bring him into our financial world.

He’ll just say “Truck.”

Or “Uck” because he can’t say the “tr” yet.

My point is that I’m really not the ideal source for this kind of advice, BUT I have experienced it secondhand, and I do believe it is very important.

So if you can handle a 29-year-old, very young daddy offering up some wisdom, here goes:

Include your children in your financial issues.

If you’re rich with no issues…. You probably aren’t reading this.  So good.

If you’re well off with no debt, teach your children to budget.  Set up an allowance.  Grow ’em up to be like you.

If you are not well off and are accumulating debt, have a serious sit down with your children.

Include them in your budget that I hope you have laid out.  If not, budget now.

If you can’t afford something that your child wants to do, don’t let them do it.

I can hear you know:  You don’t know what it’s like.

You’re right.  I don’t.  I can imagine this is hard.  But you must limit what they do.  It isn’t worth the debt.

It may not always be wise to let them know how much money you make or have.  But that’s why I’ll leave it up to you to determine when they are ready.

DISCLAIMER:  I do believe that the “street sweeper” that Nelly referred to was, in fact, a gun… who knew?

Everybody likes lists I think, so let’s end with one:

  1. Don’t expect your children to know anything without being taught.
  2. Including your children in money affairs will negate the naivety.
  3. If you can’t afford something for them, don’t do it.
  4. Don’t let them listen to crap.
  5. Let them listen to Metallica.

4 thoughts on “Street Sweeper, Baby”

  1. I agree with you fully mysterious stranger. My family was poor, I never knew we were poor and I did not know why I could not do stuff. It would have been better on me if I knew we would not have power or food if I got a new bike or got to go to Disney. Now I’m a little better off with me and my wife I hate talking money, but it is getting better now that we talk regularly about it. I know better than to go buy me a new gun or set of Legos(Deathstar). We may have the money now, but we will need the money later for something more important (being debt free) down the road.

  2. y=mx+b

    I hope you’re not implying that nelly and eminem are crap.

    I do have loads of funny jokes ?

  3. I’m really enjoying your blog. You are teaching me things I never knew. Just like how you and your brothers taught me about Sonic the hedgehog all those years ago! LoL

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