Friday, January 23, 2009

TGIF my beautiful peoples!

I am pleased to announce that I have another Guest Blogger today. I've referenced his blog Makes Me Wanna Holler in blogs past, and I hope you've all had a chance to check it out. I'm always looking for his next post, because he always makes me think and he's just that damn good. I'm honored to have him be my guest today, so show him some love! With that said, introducing E. Payne!

It's Just…

By Eric Payne

When my wife and I were dating we used to debate the tip whenever we went out to eat. Being a frugal man (arguably cheap) I thought she was too generous. The ridiculousness of it all was that we would usually argue the pros and cons of leaving behind an additional, single dollar.

"It's just one dollar," she would always say.

For me it was never just anything.

As we grew older and closer together in life and love, this single dollar grew to tens then eventually hundreds of dollars, moving way beyond the particulars of some waiter's tip to the costs of gifts, how much to spend on our kids' birthday parties, to the viability of taking vacations. Even right now in our current economy my wife begins any discussion to go beyond our means with, "It's just…"

Webster's definition of just is "by a very small margin or amount." But more times than not, people use the word "just" to devalue large amounts or inappropriate behavior as small/minor and/or harmless. In my travels as a native Chicagoan now transplanted in New York for the past too many years, I've always found it amusing how easily people throw out the word, "just" to justify spending money, time or some other resource they don't (or soon won't) have. And it's almost always in the name of an experience that is typically fleeting. This experience can be emotional (a pair of shoes to ease the pain of a bad week at work), physical (a single donut on Mondays and Fridays because when you're dieting two donuts a week never hurt anyone), or pointless (a gas guzzling behemoth sittin' on 20s or more).

But what do we typically do when someone less fortunate stops us on the street and asks for just one quarter to get on the bus, buy a meal, buy one tank of gas, or fly to Mars?

Usually this person has asked entirely too much.

In New York City you can spend $20 before noon on any given day of the week. But what do we do when we get letters in the mail from our alma maters or reputable non-profits asking for anything from just $10 or $20 on up to pay for tuition assistance or supplies or operating expenses? I know I typically add this mail to the junk mail pile for shredding.

What do we do when the local community board asks for just one to two hours of our time to add our voice to the issues going on in both our front and backyards?

I think you catch my drift.

On Tuesday, January 20, 2009, history was made at noon when Barack Hussein Obama became the 44th President of our United States of America. Ours --- meaning everyone's. And unlike his predecessor, he has charged each and every one of us to play our part in carrying the slogan of "Yes We Can" that buttressed his campaign against all his opponents and detractors.

President Obama (damn that sounds good) has asked each of us to look around and get involved in the redevelopment of our neighborhoods and communities to aid those in need of assistance and to build what time, negligence or whatever-the-ill-may-be has torn down or sent into decline. For those people who are new to the idea of serving others, President Obama has set up his own website,, as a clearing house of information on where and how to connect with service organizations and projects all over our nation. And there's always Google, as well as and

It is a brand new year and history has been made, but history was never meant to be one frozen moment in time. In fact, President Obama is insisting that it not be. So what will you do? Will you get on board, or is it just too much to spend a few hours a month being a big brother or sister? Is it just too much to put some sweat equity into a Habitat for Humanity project? Is it just too much to go beyond yourself to do just a little bit more than you do on any given day for the good of one or many?

As someone who has been involved in community service since my boyhood days of wearing coke-bottle glasses and rocking a lopsided afro, I can honestly say giving just a little bit can mean so much --- in the lives of others and in your own life.

Especially now.



Anonymous said...


That was amazing... First thing I have to say... I'm sure all women will agree don't tell me I can't get emotional & buy a pair of shoes cause I will tase someone!!!! lol

With that being said. You are right we should all look around & see what we can do for each other. Even if we start with something simple. A hello for a neighbor we never talk to. Shoveling some snow for the old lady across the street. Or playing a game of football with the neighborhood kids to keep them out of trouble. Not quite sure what my contribution will be just yet.. BUT I will try to be a better nicer person every day... :)

Anthony Otero said...

Great Blog! As someone who has made a profession out of agruing with his wife about money, I get that point.

The other point is so very true. Our communities need to be built up. Just the fact that we have a black president is enough for any child of color to aspire for something greater. However, if don't develop that mind or that community, it may go to waste.

Brooke said...

I loved this post because it spoke to directly to what Barack Obama has been stressing during his entire campaign - and is something he will make the foundation of his administration - Personal Responsibility. Not just for ourselves, but each other. It seems we've become a nation of "separateness" - total isolation to the point that we are unable to communicate effectively, empathize or function cooperatively. We're individuals with separate identities who sometimes lack or promote feelings of unity and community - the very things that make us stronger.

We're so worried about "doing me" and "getting mine" that the fallout is a fragmented way of being. Our separated sense of self is drawing us downward, not lifting us up. We only see what "I" want instead seeking the unity of ALL.

In my church growing up and while a member of INROADS, we were told to live by the motto, "To Whom Much is Given, Much is Required." That means with our blessings, we are to see the bigger picture of simply what we can acquire, but what we can give back. It's about doing the work we were created to do, of transforming our world around us. We have everything we need to do this, whether it's time or money, a kind word or a smile. It's about shifting our identity from the ego-centered self to the blessings of many.

Great post E!

Pretty Ricky What Dey Call'em said...

Have nothing to say... but GREAT THOUGHT PROVOKING BLOG! I'll be debating with myself all day about what can I do. DAMMIT E. PAYNE!

Anonymous said...

I also liked it because as you said Brooke it emphasizes personal responsibility. As minorities & as young people we spend a lot of our time complaining with a chip on our shoulder about what we don't have & why we don't have it. We blame everyone & everything for why we haven't achieved the things we want. It's time we grow up. Take responsibility. Get our priorities in order & do what we have to do to get ourselves, our families & our communites on track. Barack never made excuses for himself. He just worked damn hard to overcome all the "obstacles" that were in his way. And his hard work paid off!

E.Payne said...

Brooke, thanks for the love! You turn is coming over at the HollerDome whenever you're ready.

I'm going to check back in later to weigh in.


Serena W. said...

GREAT BLOG AND SO ON POINT! I work in the nonprofit world for 12 years now and it's amazing the difference I see when people work together. Part of my job is to help organizations come together, collaborate and serve more children through the arts. But it's sad how many don't want to play in the sandbox with other people, they are all about "doing me and get mine for my organization" wondering why they are lacking on resources.

The word just is something that people need to watch out for. As a writer one of my assignments in my manuscript that's being edited was to remove the word "just." When I did I had over 700 instances of the word just in my manuscript. My editor said...get right to the point and eliminate the word.

I now see it in a totally different light thanks to E. Get to the point, help someone out and not "just" doing it "just" to do it! Damn it get out there and Do It! Peace.

Rene The Harlemite said...

This is a good blog E.Payne.

I have been saying this to people over and over again throughout everyone's joy about Obama being elected.

In reference to a poem tittled "invictus" there is a line in it that states "I am the master of my faith, I am the captain of my soul"

Everyone must all think that way in a collective unit. Obama is not going to save this crisis by himself. We all have to contribute to the cause.

It is time for people to stop being passive and to take initiative if you want to see a change.

It's like if you are overweight, sitting on the couch all day is not going to make you lose weight. You must be active and present to the circumstance.

Brooke said...

I think we, even in our Obama high, realize what his true message is and we've all been stating it over and over again. It can't be fleeting. I hope this is still what we're all saying 2 years from now, not just his first few months in office.

It has to be inherent in us as a way of life, our own personal motto, not just the chant of a President.

Georgia Peach said...

Great job E! I have to say that our new President has inspired me to become more service oriented - especially since I had dropped off from it in recent years. His call to action on MLK day kick started me into signing up to volunteer for a group I'd helped out with many years ago. I agree that helping our community is the best solution for fixing this fine mess we're in now. Hopefully more people will heed the call and make the choice to become a part of the revolution.

Now I'll have to watch that word "just" now. Although as a person who has worked for tips before I always appreciated it more when the patrons gave a little extra. Believe it or not, most folks are really cheap!

Have a great weekend everybody!

E.Payne said...

Thanks, Rene - I know Invictus very well. It was a poem that carried a lot of significance for me back when in I was in college.

Rene The Harlemite said...

No Problem E. Payne.
How did you learn that poem?
I know it as well from college.

E.Payne said...

I went to Cornell (seriously) in the early 90's and had to commit it to memory and repeat it a lot for a few months in the Spring of '91.

Rene The Harlemite said...

E. Payne-
Got it...I went to Syracuse and had to do the same in Spring 92. Some of my friends are Brian Monroe, Brandon Dozier and John Lord and some other that were on your yard.

E.Payne said...

Okay that's cool. We're not in the same family, but we know the same people. I was older than those guys, I think I was a senior when they got put on. I was real cool with Brian and John. But your SU point from Sp. '93, Neville, was my BOY. We worked together at State Farm for several years. Krazy Kappa, right?

Like I said, not the same family, but I stay informed and respect everyone's game.

I'm putting you on my blogroll.

E.Payne said...

Sorry Brooke,
Didn't mean to go so far off topic.

Anonymous said...

Gee as if I didn't know enough Frat boyz.... Enter 2 more..LMAO

Brooke said...

Hey, today is your blog man - do what you like!

Alphas and Ques and Sigmas (in Annamaria's case) oh my!

It's all love!

E.Payne said...

Thanks Everyone, for the blog love today.

Latinegro, I feel you completely and it looks like I'm going down the same career path.

AnaJolia - please don't tase me. My wife busted out laughing when she saw your comment and raised her fist (whatever - lol).

Let's all be motivated to action. That's the best thing we can all do.

Brooke said...

Thank you so much for being my guest today - you're welcome back any time! And thanks everyone for the love, as usual. Have a great weekend!

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