I’ve Never Been a Poet

I’ve never been a poet

I’ve been one of the beasts on a field

And a red hot journalist

But certainly never a poet

 

I’ve had blue sky highs and rock bottom lows

I’ve made some new friends but held the old ones close

I’ve been embarrassed, happy, sad, and in between

But I’ve never been a poet

 

The hardest part for me is I want to be great

But I’d rather turn green before I imitate

I  just want to be me

To be funny and know it

If only I could express that

I’d call myself a poet

 

I’ve always been a writer 

And prefer handwritten over computer

My black subject notebook   

Where an idea becomes the future

I think so often 

I wish I was a poet

 

I never want to be normal

A 9-5 is not for me

My dreams can’t go away 

Being blinded by a white sheet

Balance in life is everything

I can finally say I know it

I’ve been through a lot

But I’ve never been a poet

 

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When You Get Your First Job

By: Makailey Cookis Twitter: @makcookis Instagram: @mcookis

When you get your first job, you think it is nothing more than an added activity to your weekly agenda.

But what your mom or dad forgot to tell you is that getting your first job also means opening yourself up to a variety of experiences that fall everywhere on the spectrum.

Your first job is the beginning of another chapter in your life.

Money no longer produces itself from the wallet of your caregiver, you spend six-hour shifts being treated as an adult only to return home as the teenager everyone other than your co-workers see you as, and you begin to understand the minimum wage industry.

I have worked at a local restaurant in the town right next to my home for almost 6 years. I am currently a sophomore in college and I began my employment at the tavern the day I was legally allowed to (Literally- my sister picked me up from middle school and drove me to fill out the application on my birthday).

At fourteen years old, I was unable to fathom how a restaurant job could influence anything other than my bank account. However, at nineteen years old, I now understand just how much this job has helped shape me as a person.

The tavern I have worked at truly knows how to train you in all of the areas of the restaurant business. In this former barn, I have gained multiple friendships and made even more connections.

This tavern does not just teach you how to serve.

It teaches you how to problem solve and how to master skills that are useful in all aspects of life. 

As a busser, my main tasks were to clean dirty tables as well as help the wait staff complete tasks they were too busy to do themselves. As a hostess, I had to work more with customers, as well as assist both the bussers and wait staff. As a bartender and waitress, I had to completely focus on customers. And finally, as a manager- I had to oversee it all.

In almost six years, I learned how to navigate myself and others through all of these parts of the restaurant business. Most importantly though, all of my jobs throughout the years had to do with customer service.

I have always considered myself a “people person”.

But in this business? I gained so much strength.

One important thing to note is that this tavern is not just any other restaurant. It is an incredibly busy business where all seasons have sales peaks that top almost any other restaurant in the area.

Dealing with a hectic environment (though exceedingly stressful) has taught me tremendously how to handle multiple tasks, various conversations, and how to maintain a positive attitude throughout it all at once. Now, outside of the restaurant, I have far more skills in tackling challenges that would have been very intimidating to me if I had never worked there.

The restaurant business has allowed me to embrace my inner social-butterfly.

But enough about me and my experiences.

Your first job truly influences who you are.

It is more than those paychecks.

It is more than something for the resume.

Ultimately, your first job helps you grow up.

So, to anyone fourteen and sitting on the couch after school or at the end of the night, it might be a good idea to get a job. Because if you do, you’ll acquire skills that can very easily make you a stronger, and even better, person.

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Our Long National Nightmare is Over

By: Gerry Sullivan Twitter: @gerrysullivan12/@UltSportsBlogs

The world is an interesting place.

Your perspective on the world really tells what type of person you are. Some people like to think that the world is a good place while others think the world at its core is a bad place.

I like to think the world is a good place and ultimately good will win out. I’ve had that theory tested at times, but recently, I have had these beliefs further cemented in my life.

Over the last few years, I think the division of beliefs in the United States of America has become more prominent, especially with social media becoming a tool to discuss and essentially argue with people over disagreements. It’s sad to see close friends have hard feelings against each other over stupid things like politics.

It takes a truly momentous feat to unify an entire nation under the circumstances we are under today.

But it happened- and the world is a better place because of it.

The New York Yankees were eliminated from the playoffs on Saturday.

If you have even half a heart in your body- you hate the New York Yankees. They are the worst. I grew up hating the Yankees. I was taught to hate Derek Jeter from birth, I couldn’t stand A-Rod, and that passionate hatred continues today. It’s really not hard to hate guys like Gary Sanchez and Brett Gardner. It’s even easier to hate their cocky fan base, constantly yelling “27 rings” as if they’ve done anything of relevance within the last 20 years.

Nobody outside of New York cares for that team. Nobody. Everyone resents them. And the last 10 seasons of mediocre baseball from them has been a treat to sports fans everywhere. They are a cocky group of players and fans who act above everyone else as if they don’t have the record for most consecutive losses in the ALCS (4 ALCS defeats in a row for those wondering). They act as if nobody noticed them constantly being bested by the Red Sox ever since the infamous 2004 choke job when they blew a 3-0 lead. They act as if nobody notices that this is the 1st time in 100 years that they went a full decade without making it to the World Series. Their mystique is dead.

They are just like everyone else now.

Some might say sports fans put too much stock into millionaires playing kids games. I’d respond by saying shut up, go back to living your boring lives, and let me watch my sports in peace. The highlight of my weekend was watching Jose Altuve rip the heart out of each and every Yankee fan across the globe as they went into the offseason with nothing for the tenth year in a row. They have been owned this decade by franchises like the Red Sox, Astros, and Texas Rangers. Can you imagine that happening when Derek Jeter was on the team? They are a laughingstock.

They are right there with the Mets*, Jets, and Cleveland Browns.

Our long national nightmare is over. Even though the Red Sox had a rough year, they ended up with the same fate as the Yankees:

Being losers.

And after being losers for 10 years in a row, Yankee fans really don’t know what to do with themselves.

You hate to see it.

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*- Actually, the Mets made a World Series this decade. The Yankees could be second in their own state right now. What a sad display.

Fighting Strategies for Non-Fighters*

Ever been in a situation where you know you’re going to get your ass kicked? I don’t mean “ah man, I really got my ass kicked didn’t I guys?”. I mean you got a can of whoop-ass opened, heated over the stovetop, seasoned with salt, pepper, and paprika, and then had it dumped on you, and then he took the pan and smacked the shit out of you with it.

I haven’t.

Mostly because I don’t really hang around people who I think are going to kick my ass. That is, I’m a total bitch. Even the slightest scent of that whoop-ass can and I’m changing my name and moving to Timbuktu.

But I do have some strategies for non-fighters that will hopefully help you out should you ever need to employ them (God forbid).

The Spider-Man:

I know what you’re thinking “Jake, I don’t have radioactive spider powers, I can’t fight, that’s why I’m reading this blog.” I know, neither do I. However, something I can do is read comic books. In one instance, Spider-Man was able to defeat the Incredible Hulk by telling him a joke so funny that the Hulk laughed and laughed until he turned back into Bruce Banner. I’m not saying that this will work every time, but if you’ve got a long period of time while Mr. I’m Gonna Kick Your Ass is walking over to you and rolling up his sleeves, maybe bust out the Moth Joke.

The Bust a Move:

Right as the fight is starting, just simply yell “dance off!” and start furiously dancing. I don’t mean some weak ass hit-the-woah and some nae-nae’s, I mean crump out of your goddamn mind like your life (or at least the current arrangement of your face) depends on it. Chances are- you still get hit. But if you’re crumping hard enough, you could land a lucky elbow or fist in the right spot and deter the ass-kicker from pursuing any further violence for the time being.

The Woe is Me:

As soon as the guy threatening to beat you up starts to move towards you, try to look as gloomy as possible. Unfortunately, this is not for those of you who are clapped– but them’s the breaks. As he closes in on you and sees how sad your puppy dog eyes look, maybe he’ll take pity on you. The advantage of the ‘woe is me’ is that you can continue to do it while the fight is happening. If you just look so sad while it’s happening and let him hit you like it has happened a million times before, he might get sad too and stop.

Or he’ll be a sick fuck and keep doing it (idk I’ve never done this before).

The Daddy*:

This strategy is not for the faint of heart and certainly not for the amateur fight-avoider. The technique to this is deliberate and calculated. In order for this strategy to work, you have to commit entirely. Half-assing this avoidance technique is guaranteed to result in double the ass kicking.

How does it work?

As the fight is beginning, take off your shirt and start shouting “Oh is that it? Huh? You wanna fuck daddy? That’s what you wanna do huh?” Continue stripping, while continuing to shout at the guy various ways he wants to have sex with you, “oh you wanna make tender love with daddy by the fireplace? That’s what you want? You sick pitiful bastard?” By this point you should be in at least your underwear and the guy should be backing off because he thinks you’re insane. If all else fails, fully commit and get naked.

Note that this strategy should only be used in a situation where your dignity does not need to remain intact.

*None of these strategies have been tested in the field. No Names No Numbers is not liable for any cans of whoop-ass opened on you.

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Editor’s Note:

 1. Obligatory BMS clip

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MaaUMOaNshs

2. People have told me that another great strategy is to antagonize a 300lb behemoth at a frat only to be bailed out by a hometown brother moments before a beatdown takes place.

I wouldn’t know- but that seems good too.

Being From New Jersey 

By: Christine Feeley Twitter: @FeeleyChristine Instagram: @christinefeeley

I love meeting new people.

But sometimes I really hate having to introduce myself because one of the first questions people ask is “Hey, so where are you from?” and I’ll reply, “I’m actually from New Jersey!”.

What comes next is usually a look of poorly-masked judgement and the response:

“Oh… you’re from Joisey…does it smell there?”

I’d like to break this down a little bit. Starting with, “does it smell there?”. I’m sorry, are people aware that we’re the Garden State? It’s not my fault that you all stink it up every time you come visit! Second of all, I have never met a single human being who pronounces where they live as “Joisey”. This is a misconceived notion about an accent that does not exist, and the funny part is, it is most often perpetuated by the people who “pahk their cah”.

All my life I have been ridiculed for where I’m from simply because people are so deeply uneducated about it. And listen, there have been times that I’ve disliked New Jersey too. I was one of the few students in my grade who did not apply to Rutgers- because I knew I wanted out. But reflecting on that now, I think that was a product of being from a small town and not the state itself, because I genuinely never realized how much state pride I possessed until I started school at UMass.

Going to school in Massachusetts is weird. It’s remembering that “the city” here means Boston, not New York. It’s forgetting that not everyone knows about the state-wide debate over whether a particular type of breakfast meat is called Taylor ham or pork roll (It’s Taylor ham; no question). It’s taking a bite out of one of my favorite carbs and realizing that people here are living the biggest lie of them all- not knowing what a real bagel tastes like. It’s having to awkwardly explain to people that no, you don’t know how to pump your own gas. Or alternatively, sitting in the car at a gas station wondering why your friend is getting out of the driver’s seat before realizing that it’s because she has to do it herself and someone is not going to come do it for her.

There are honestly so many things that people up here have never experienced. Some of you have probably never had Playa Bowls, which is shocking and horrifying to me. Yes, we pay $13 for a bowl of blended up fruit drizzled with Nutella that we could easily make at home, but it is undoubtedly one of the best-tasting things you will ever spend your money on.

Another thing that often gets blank looks is when I tell people about MDW (or Memorial Day Weekend for those who might have trouble with standard acronyms). For us, the entire year leads up to what is essentially New Jersey’s state holiday where the entire grade plans extensively in advance to go down the shore – not “to the beach”. When the week arrives, the alcoholics usually skip school to go down on Wednesday, with everyone else arriving Thursday or Friday night, to begin what is essentially five straight days of dages.

Yes, they’re called “dages”- not “dartys”. 

But the point is, it’s honestly crazy to me that these things don’t exist for some people. I hate to say it, but all of you are really missing out. It’s sometimes baffling to me why people have such a strong judgement towards New Jersey, because there are actually so many great things about it.

I constantly have to defend myself.

Sure, we might have one of the 5 biggest heroin ports in the United States, but we also have the best bagels and pizza outside of New York City, fantastic international food, the highest number of millionaires – and horses – per capita, we’re the origin of the blueberry as well as cranberry bogs, we have beaches with boardwalks, mountains, forests, farms, easy access to both NYC and Philadelphia, great public schools and colleges, and we’re the birthplace and home to famous icons such as Bon Jovi, Bruce Springsteen, and Meryl Streep.

So why do we get so much hate? The answer is simple. People have never actually visited and instead choose to base their knowledge off of “The Real Housewives of New Jersey”. I’m sorry that you’re just jealous because Massachusetts doesn’t have its own TV show!

If we’re being real, there are so many better states to roast. Like if you want to pick an east coast state to shit talk, why not Connecticut?* Connecticut is like a teenager having an identity crisis – does it want to be a part of New England or the tri-state area? Half the people there would easily die for the Red Sox, but the rest would one hundred percent leave their husbands for Aaron Judge. I don’t know how they’re not facing the same sort of judgement that NJ receives, when they can’t even make up their mind about who they want to associate with!

And speaking of sports, yes, of course you guys have the best sports teams. I root for them too. But no one ever gives me the chance to give my explanation (I was born in New Hampshire, lived there for 4 years, and my dad’s side of the family all lived in Mass so I grew up with the fear of being disowned if I supported anyone but New England) because they immediately begin to roast the Giants and the Jets and all the other teams that I too, also think suck. 

But this is the sort of blatant prejudice I have faced my entire life, and it is the reason that I wish people were more educated about the state as a whole as well as the people within it. Mainly so they can realize that not everyone supports awful sports teams just because they happen to live there and that not everyone is white trash who dress like Snooki.

Because contrary to popular belief, my life is not an episode of “Jersey Shore”. I don’t drink “cawfee” and “warder”.

I drink coffee and water.

So the next time you meet someone who says that they’re from Jersey, don’t mock and judge them based on a TV show. Instead, think about how you would feel if the entirety of Massachusetts was judged based on Amherst.

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Editor’s Note:

Looks like Christine’s got some support on this one