bestadvice, Uncategorized

Often The Best Things You’ve Ever Done…

No Comments 26 June 2012

One of my personal favorites:
After years in the business side of music industry, I made a rule that I’d never date a singer. Luckily I broke that rule, and eventually married my wife 🙂

What’s the best thing you’ve ever done that you almost didn’t do?

bestadvice, gracious, singing

#BestAdvice- How To Be Gracious

No Comments 09 August 2011

My brother Frank put up some old pictures on Facebook today, reminding me of some great advice I received from my grandma, “Nanny Yi”. 

Mom, Frank, Me, Dad

Yi (“Yi” because somehow that’s how her baby sister pronounced “Elsie Fowler” and it stuck) was born to be a performer.  She taught herself how to play jazz piano from an early age and was always the life of the party.  Her children were all expected to be able to perform, and that carried on to her grandchildren as well.  We always had to tell stories at the dinner table or gather around the piano and sing while she played.

In 8th or 9th grade, I’d gotten a lead part in a church musical, where I played a bad guy who finally figures it out in the end.  Before the play, Nanny Yi took us out to an early dinner at Ponderosa, and I remember her very specific instructions- not on how to perform during the musical, but how to perform after the musical. 

“Now, Brian, after the musical, you’ll be at the back of the church, and people are going to come up and say, “Thank you, you did a great job!” When they say that, I don’t want you to hem and to haw and mumble or look down at the ground.  Don’t be embarrassed! These people want to pay their compliments.  So you need to be gracious. Look them in the eye and smile and say “Thank you!”  My mom, who is a very well-known singer in our community, chimed in her agreement to this advice, which I’m sure she had in her turn when she was younger.

Nanny Yi then looked at my shirt and asked, “Is that what you’re wearing?  No, my grandson needs to stand out on stage!” So we raced to JC Penny’s and she bought me the brightest red shirt she could find. We just made it to church on time.

The musical went well, and even though I wanted to default to my natural tendency to mumble and look at the ground while people complimented our performance, I instead made myself smile and say thanks- thanks to my grandma.

bestadvice, chicken, hair

#BestAdvice: The Secret To Never Losing Your Hair

No Comments 22 June 2011

(Another blog on the #bestadvice I’ve received over the years)

Stretching before a race. Photo: Veer Hossain.

When I was in college, I decided I wanted to learn how to cut hair.  I didn’t want to actually go to hair cutting school or whatever they call it.  I was just curious to learn how the process was done.  The woman who owned the place near campus assumed this was an attempt by a poor college student to get a free haircut, so she gave me one (that wasn’t my intent, but I still took the free haircut :).  The offshoot was that in ensuing visits, the folks who cut hair would tell me different tricks of the trade- cutting a guideline, the pros and cons of clippers, etc.  It was actually quite interesting, and I may have ended up learning the secret to never losing my hair. 

Photo: Sitcoms Online

The ‘Best Advice’ I received was from a tattooed former marine-turned-barber, who was a dead ringer for the guy who played Major Dad. He said he had the secret of how to never lose your hair.  The reason why it wasn’t well known was because it was very simple and you couldn’t make money from it, so no big companies advertised it.  Being too blunt for my own good, I asked him why his hair coverage was fading, and he said it was because he’d learned the secret too late- but, he’d told many people since, and their success had proven him right.

“Well, what’s the secret?” I asked.

“Claws,” he replied.  Claws???

“Every time you wash your hair, turn your hands into claws and dig in like crazy as you go through the shampoo and water.  It helps the circulation, which helps the hair grow. Which means, of course, that you never lose your hair.”

I’m supposed to lose my hair.  My dad and both my grandpas either thinned out considerably or lost their hair completely.  (There will still be those who will somehow have missed the last sentence and say “What about your maternal grandfather?  Did he lose his hair?” And I’ll just refer you back to the previous sentence, in which that’s covered by the words ‘both grandpas’.)  I figured that this didn’t cost anything, it wouldn’t cost me any time or money, so I’d do it.

After college, I went back home during the holidays and got a haircut from the barber who had cut my hair all the way from elementary to high school.  The first thing he said was, “Wow, I think your hair is actually thicker than it was before college!”And years later, I still get comments on how freakishly thick my hair is whenever I go to a new place to get my hair cut.

Tangent: I told this to my wife shortly after we got married, and, wanting her husband to have hair forever, she was all for it.  In fact, she decided she’d try to give me a scalp massage every time we watched TV just to make sure- and I was all for that.  One day I suggested she give me a back scratch, too, and she replied, “Your back doesn’t need any more hair.”  Epic. Backfire.

Of course, this could all change (especially when my girls hit dating age), but for right now, its working well. I hope this piece of ‘Best Advice’ helps you out- it doesn’t cost anything, and doesn’t take any extra time, so why not try it? 

Do you think it will work for you?  Comment below!

PS.- If you like this blog and want to say thanks, please help BRING BACK THE CHICKEN!- an effort to help a group of impoverished kids in the Dominican get the nutrition they need.  Thanks!

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