“You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.”
We all know Winnie the Pooh, right? Tubby little cubby all stuffed with fluff.
Bet you didn’t know that Winnie the Pooh and his friends in the Hundred Acre Wood are some of the sassiest creatures alive. Here is the proof, along with some epic Winnie the Pooh quotes…
1. “The things that make me different are the things that make me.”
2. “Oh Tigger, where are your manners?”
“I don’t know, but I bet they’re having more fun than I am.”
3. “Did you ever stop to think, and forget to start again?”
Look at those sassy brows. And speaking of sassy brows…
4. “Some people care too much. I think it’s called love.”
5. “It means just going along, listening to all the things you can’t hear, and not bothering.”
Am I bothered?
Nope. I’m #NotBothering, Winnie the Pooh style.
6. “When you are a Bear of Very Little Brain, and you Think of Things, you find sometimes that a Thing which seemed very Thingish inside you is quite different when it gets out into the open and has other people looking at it.”
Is this the sassiest thing you’ve seen all day?
7. “I wonder what Piglet is doing.”
8. Ah, bless the little dears…
9. Such dear little things…
And so sassy!
And let’s not forget that Winnie the Pooh – and his friends – gain their sassiest from being totally, completely, one hundred percent happy with who they are.
10. “A bear, however hard he tries, grows tubby without exercise.”
And that is something we can aspire to.
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The health care law that ended discriminatory practices such as denying health care due to a Caesarean section or domestic violence and charging women more for coverage is now in jeopardy again. These women are standing up for their right to a healthy life.
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“Don’t fucking talk to me about expectations!”
Roughly a year and a half ago, I was belligerently lecturing two of my former college roommates — both New England Patriots fans — in a Cleveland sports bar. I had just watched the Bills turn a 21-point lead into a 34-point loss. I had already been reprimanded for my language by the bar staff, and my girlfriend had been ashamed to be sitting next to me for quite some time.
I had really high hopes for the Buffalo Bills in 2012 — delusional hopes. We had just signed one of the best defensive players in the NFL and had the pieces to have one of the most explosive offenses in the league — at least that’s what I told myself. That August I had flooded the unfortunate ears of friends and strangers with my theory that “THIS IS THE YEAR.”
It wasn’t even close to being The Year. And on that day, fueled by Miller Light, spiced rum, orange soda, and the residue of the night before, my expectations coming apart in front of me, I was gradually losing my sanity. It was the last weekend of September, and we were nearing the end of a 72-hour celebratory bender. I had been in town since Thursday night, which I now know is far too long to spend in Cleveland. One of our college roommates had gotten married the day before. He was first of our formerly tight-knit group to dive into this adulthood thing everyone seems to be talking about.
Growing up, the trademarks of autumn were going back to school, losing your awesome new pens in about two weeks, and football season. It didn’t matter whether or not you played; hell, it didn’t even matter if you cared. It’s what people watched and talked about. For many, fall football develops into a dependence that can be as comforting as that warm bourbon on a cold night — and as hard to shake.
But once you enter your mid-twenties, a new autumn staple comes into play. Those strangers you met over the years in class, on the athletic fields, in the dorm, or near the keg start getting married. Pretty soon weekend plans in September, October, and November start revolving around nuptials, not football.
The last couple of years I’ve been lucky enough to combine these autumn obsessions: two Saturday weddings and two Sunday Bills-Patriots games. These scheduling miracles have resulted in my favorite weekends since college. I’ve been able to watch my friends smile on Saturday, and they’ve been able to see me pout on Sunday. Sometimes the fourth quarter is forgotten in a whiskey-coated malaise. Sometimes a friend skips a flight home to spend the night with our spider-tattooed waitress. Sometimes we just eat a lot of nachos.
But life is rarely this convenient, and I realize that, soon, the schedule will change. Bills v. Pats is a debaucherous rest stop on our divergent paths toward maturity. We used to be a bunch of middling high school athletes who took intramurals way too seriously. We bonded over sports. Now we’re scattered across the country and the workforce settling into lives we’re uncertain of. One friend is a successful trader at a hedge fund, unhappy about being forced to work nights for three years, yet is hesitant to leave his job. Another is a career academic who has dedicated his life to the classics, but now that he’s on the verge of pursuing his doctorate at an elite university, he’s unsure if he wants to commit his life to studying. The wildcard of the group is on a five-year bar crawl up the west coast, yet is arguably the most financially successful among us. Meanwhile, I’ve stood by and watched friends get engaged and buy houses while sleeping in a twin bed in my childhood home and watching sports.
Professional sports are pure entertainment — a distraction. By definition, professional sports do not matter. Fans and athletes don’t even have a college experience in common: It’s just our money for their performance. And rational humans don’t scream at the television, lose sleep over losses, or cry over championships won by people with whom they have a business relationship.
When it comes to football season, I’m not always known for making rational decisions. At times I’ve put watching Buffalo Bills games ahead of family, work, my financial well-being, and, most regrettably, my relationship with my girlfriend. Sundays that I should have spent getting ahead on work I’ve watched the Bills lose to the Browns. I’ve wasted money I should have been saving to move out into an apartment on buffalo wings and Bud Light. When I recently watched a game with my mom and brother — who I don’t see often — I spent more time with my teeth clenched, tweeting obscenities, than I did enjoying their company. I always said, “All I ask is for four hours on 16 Sundays between September and December,” without exceptions. I always thought this was reasonable. I’ve always been wrong.
The Buffalo Bills haven’t been to the playoffs in 14 seasons — I was 12 the last time they were. As the losses pile up every Sunday, I’ve started to notice that my girlfriend genuinely cares if they win or lose because she wants to see me happy. She’s supported me like a fan.
There are good reasons to watch sports, and one is that sometimes we need a hopeful distraction to keep us from overdosing on stress or drowning in misery. Sports can uplift the human spirit. Sports can be transcendent, and it’s easy (and not necessarily a bad thing) to get hooked on the hoping for transcendence. Meanwhile, being in love and getting married is society’s most acceptable form of long-term insanity. You put the wants and needs of someone else ahead of yourself, hoping it will work. You give things up. You do it all knowing that it might not work. A lot of people do it knowing that it didn’t even work for their own parents. But it might work for you. You might be that couple 30 years down the line holding hands and watching your kid graduate from college. You might win the championship.
I’ve seen my friends cannonball into a pool without looking down. Their trust is unwavering even if their eyes are slightly watery.
All these weddings have forced me to take a crash course in being an adult. In the past few months I’ve purchased my first suit, rented my first car, dry-cleaned my first suit, and had to call my first locksmith. And I’ve been forced to confront my own uncertain future and continually arrested development. Next month is going to be the first time I move out of my childhood bedroom since I returned from college — I’m 26 years old. I graduated high school ready to conquer the world. I graduated college having no idea how I was going to conquer anything. So I made excuses: the recession, the economy, loans, no car, no internships, my job was below me, “I don’t know what I want to do.”
But now, after dragging my feet like a kid whose parents are carrying him to the bathtub, I committed to something more than a team that lets me down: spending every day with someone who doesn’t. I’m moving in with my girlfriend and taking a very large step — it’s nowhere near marriage — but it’s something.
We’ve been programmed to be cautiously optimistic about autumn since the first time we shoulder a backpack. We worry about whether we’ll have class with our friends. We worry about how we’ll do in those classes. These days, in the fall I hope the Bills finally turn it around. I hope to not fear what’s coming. And I hope I finally grow up.
Recently, while I was writing this, another one of my closest friends from college got engaged. And wouldn’t you know, the wedding is tentatively planned for September 2015. Another Bills vs. Pats game, maybe. By then I hope my friends ask me about expectations, because I’m finally tired of running away from them.
10. It’s easier to train hard (in armour, with sharp, pointy weapons) with people who love you, rather than people who want to kill you.
Or even out of armor. No one likes taking a cudgel to the head.
9. In negotiating contracts, you catch more flies with honey than you do with vinegar.
Make sure to set clear contractual goals in a pleasant manner. Demands only make it more likely that they will hire someone else.
8. Experience shows that each hired killer has to be dealt with as an individual with his or her own murderous needs and aspirations to glory.
George, it you kill three archers today you get promoted. Seven archers and we can talk about moving you out of the stable.
7. Sometimes employers are slow to pay. The Captain gets to explain this to the boys and girls.
Obfuscation is key. Make sure to keep talking about retainers and percentages and this will buy you enough time to do the proper shaking down.
6. Sometimes (usually) employers like to play divide et impera (divide and rule) with mercenary companies. Social skills can help you build the cohesion to keep your people together.
Again, remember that they are paying you for YOUR pointy weapons. If they had pointy weapons, they wouldn’t need you in the first place.
5. Adversaries will often attempt to bribe your people. They are, after all, mercenaries. Social skills—and even a modicum of, dare I say it, trust—can keep them on your side and at your back.
Keep you enemies closer than your friends but never let your friends too far out of eyesight.
4. Hired killers often require motivation as much as any other group of craftspeople.
I really like the way you have been handling that battleaxe George. Looking real good.
3. Staff meetings run much better if the officers communicate well, and struggle for corporate clarity when violence is the only mode of exchange. That is, when all the officers want to kill each other.
Martha, you get to lead out the raiding party tomorrow. Yes, I know you are better at it than Steve, but it’s his turn.
2. It is easier to receive scouting reports when you listen instead of talking.
Honestly, I don’t care about how many monsters are hidden in the woods. I want to talk about my feelings for a moment.
1. And most important of all, in battle, when the air around you is full of steel, it’s good to feel some of it is on your side.
George, I CANNOT thank you enough for taking that man’s head off in one swing. Wonderful work.
Is a military veteran and historian.
He has a degree in Medieval History and lives with his wife and daughter in the most multi-cultural city in the world. There is also a cat. So far, no horse.
Mile’s first book, The Red Knight, can be purchased here.
Miles forthcoming book, The Fell Sword, will be released this December.
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Katzu Burger, in Seattle.