March 1, 2013

Unrealistic Expectation

From My Window To The World by Demetrics McCauley (author's profile)




I recently mediated a conversation between a couple of guys who were debating about, "What do you do when you encounter a man who has unrealistic expectations?" One guy took the position that you do a man a disservice whenever you fail to let him know his expectations aren't realistic. He took a cynical approach and said, "You should bust him upside the head w/truth!" And tear down those false expectations so that he can get on to something real. The other guy was more optimistic and said, essentially, "Who are you to tell a man his expectations aren't realistic? Anytime a man in prison aspires to do something more than the nothing that got him here, he should be encouraged. At the end of the day, you don't know what's on that man's heart; if he can believe it, he can achieve it."

I understood both of their positions but it got me to thinking: I hear guys express expectations that don't seem to have any possibility of happening. But I also know it's our expectations that limit us, and what I expect for them, doesn't matter. So I don't know how to respond to it. Let me give you a few examples of that I'm talking about.

I know this guy named Slick and he's a rapper. That's what he expects to do for a living upon his release. Now we all know there's no shortage of rappers in prison, but Slick can REALLY rap, he's nice. The problem is: when you see him you expect him to hit some old school, 1984, Curtis Blow flow or something. You see, Slick is 47 years old. He's running around w/a mouth full of false teeth, and wears parts in his eyebrows, as if he's Big Daddy Kane or someone from the early '90's. Now this isn't surprising considering he's been incarcerated since '91. But every time he raps, he's talking about six T.V.'s in his car, 26 inch rims, and sleeping w/a bunch of women. The only time he's seen a T.V. in a car besides when watching T.V., is when he went out and bought one! The man wouldn't know a 26 inch rim if you ran his dumb ass over w/four of them! He also smoked crack on the streets and so did the women he knew! And since he prides himself on being a reality rapper and only rapping about his experiences: he's rapping about sleeping w/crackheads! When he raps about getting high, popping bottles, flossing, he's reminiscing on his days of smoking crack, drinking MD 20/20, and buying loose cigarettes from the corner store. So when I hear him, should I, BUST HIM UPSIDE THE HEAD W/TRUTH?! Or do I be happy he wants to do something other than the same old nothing that got him here? No one will buy him being a rapper to me, but that's MY truth. But there's an obvious truth that's objective: I don't know what's on that man's heart; if he can believe it, he can achieve it.

I know this guy named JB and every time I see him he's talking about cooking, he loves it. His dream is to open up a chain of restaurants upon release. The problem is: he wants to open restaurants that cater in serving "prison food"?! Doesn't sound appetizing to me, but he makes it sound so good. But when I listen to him I can't help but wonder who the hell would want a pizza which crust is made out of ramen noodle soups and graham crackers over Pizza Hut? Why would anyone want to buy a cake made out of cookies and soda in a microwave, when they could buy or make a real cake? He talks about how good his burritos would be w/real onions, bell peppers, and paprika. Instead of using summer sausages and beef tips, he'd grill chicken breast, and soups. I listen to him, and I want to tell him, putting all that in a soup and rolling it up in a tortilla shell, ain't no damn burrito! ...It's a soup rolled up in a tortilla shell! Why would anyone want that over Taco Bell? He says he wants to call it "Inside Eats" and market it as "catering in the most exquisite prison cuisine". An oxymoron, from a moron to me, but do I BUST HIM UP SIDE THE HEAD W/TRUTH?! Or do I acknowledge, "I don't know what's on that man's heart; if he can believe it, he can achieve it."

Last but not least, I know this guy named Boise and he has a loftier expectation. He wants to be a drug counselor and help people break their addictions to drugs. The problem is: Boise is an addict himself, and he has a truly addictive personality. He says he started smoking cigarettes at six, and started shooting heroin, at nine. I swear I'm not making this up. He takes all types of psychotic medications trying to get high, but since it's not his drug of choice, heroin, he counts the years of imprisonment as years of sobriety. He's an expert on getting high.

One night he told me about all the legal things he's gotten high on. Hand sanitizer, bath salts, paint thinner, gas. He said you can huff gas by putting it in a plastic bag and doing it like you would a brown bag if you had hiccups. His one caveat was to say you can't smoke right after doing it b/cuz it could mess you up! He even said he's gotten high off the fluid in lighters. I didn't believe him and he said go get him an old lighter and he'd prove it. I went and got him a new one, b/cuz I had to see it. He got it and did something w/it and you could hear the gas escaping and he inhaled it... swoooooooo... "Oh man, I'm high as a motha!" My neighbor had watched the whole exchange and told him, "Hey Boise, my cellie got some heart pills over here, they'll get you high! Take about four of them." Boise said, "Heart pills?! Heart pills?! No, I don't think I want to try no heart pills." Boise wasn't that stupid but his expectation of being a drug counselor is. So do I BUST HIM UPSIDE THE HEAD W/TRUTH?! Or do I acknowledge, "I don't know what's on that man's heart; if he can believe it, he can achieve it."

Listen, it's easy to label the expectations of others as unrealistic, but the reality is, we don't know what's on the heart of another. But we do know what's on OUR hearts. And it's our responsibility to ensure that what's on our hearts, match the words that come out of our mouths. So that we too, don't have the harsh realities of life, BUST US UPSIDE OUR HEADS!


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