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Muffin

She calls me Muffin.

“Muffin can you take out the trash?”

All day.

“Muffin what do you want for dinner?”

Everyday.

“Muffin! Guess what?!”

I honestly don’t remember when it started. It’s not like I showed up for the first date and she told me hey you’re Muffin now.


But I never minded. It’s weird that I never minded, right? It’s entirely possible her friends don’t even know my real name. I do remember her explaining once that Muffin was a appropriate because I was “slightly sweet and great in the morning.” I was like…

All I know is ever since I’ve achieved Muffin status, life has been pretty great. When she decided I was her Muffin there was nothing she wouldn’t do for me. 

A little after we started dating, the car that I fought to keep going for over a decade finally screwed me over for the last time. She drove me around to car lots every weekend until I was able to find something I could afford. We were brand new, I didn’t have my own place, and at the time I made half as much money as she did. She could have easily decided I wasn’t worth her time and kicked my muffin ass to the curb. 

But she didn’t do that. Because I was her muffin. She stuck with me until I got myself a Muffinmobile. And she stuck with me still even when I had to get a second job to help pay for it, which meant less time for her. I was working somewhere around 60+ hours a week for an entire year and there was no way in hell I would have been able to do it without her. She could always make me laugh when I needed it. Not that fake, pity laugh you have to do with your unfunny-ass girlfriend. She has me rolling. 

When I decided to finally take the next step in my career and accepted a job almost two hours away from her, she was nothing but supportive. She even helped me move. 

I hate telling this story… but when moving to my current apartment, my mattress fell off the top of the truck because I was too much of a dumbass to strap it down. I didn’t even know the damn thing had fallen off. I looked in my rear view mirror and saw my girlfriend dragging my queen sized mattress off of I-65 in Birmingham by herself at 5 o’clock rush hour on a Friday. Whatever the previous scariest moment of my life was before that day became a distant second place. She told me later that some guys drove by honking yelling something about her ass while she was on the side of the road.

Every word of that is true…and she did it because I was her Muffin. 

What’s worse, I don’t really have a cute nickname like that for her. She likes to refer to herself as my Brownie, but that does not at all do her justice. Only one title I can think of even comes close…wife. 

Victoria my life has been nothing but better since you entered it. You are far more than I deserve and I am a better man because of you. I would be thrilled to be your Muffin for the rest of my life. 

Will you marry me?

Can We Address McDonald’s Coonery?

 

Which one of y’all asked for this? I really hope someone out there shares my annoyance at this commercial. I know my woke folks will inform me there is plenty more to be upset about. All my medias are full of people denouncing Trump’s fuckery and I’m over here like “yeah but these Big Macs tho!” I’m not sure why this bothers me so much but this ad irks me to my very soul and I have to address it. Follow me.

First there’s the slogan. There’s a Big Mac for that? Isn’t this already Apple’s slogan…as in “there’s an app for that?” Yung McNugget and the Sesame Seed Steppers would have you believe that when you accomplish something in life it’s time to celebrate with a Big Mac. It’s like Miller Time except you’re ruining your stomach instead of your liver.


I don’t know how Marty McFry and the Marching McFlurries live their lives, but I’ve never had a win that I thought would be made better by a Big Mac. Quite the opposite actually. I judge success in my life by how little McDonald’s I’m eating.


So in this Big Mac revamp, DJ Special Saucey and the Happy Mealer Thrillers introduce two more Big Macs for me not to order: the Grand Mac and the Big Mac Jr. Did you catch that? The Big Mac Jr. It’s a smaller Big Mac. The Big Mac’s only function is to be big…so why I need a small one? And why not call it the Small Mac…why is it still big?! What kinda Big Sean-ass logic is at play here?


McDonald’s has been going after that Black dollar hard for a while now. Every ad they aim at us is pretty much like this one. That’s what really bothers me. The pandering. Pander on a hundred, thousand, trillion. This is Hillary Clinton pulling hot sauce out of her bag level pandering, and I’m not here for it. I’m not trying to hear Patty Wap kick a rhyme about why I need this soggy burger with too much bread that falls apart before you get halfway through it. Whenever I see one of these commercials I feel very much like I’m being talked down to. And as for MC Brokey McIceCream Machine…


 

 

Put Some Respeck on my Chill

I deserve a prize. Nobel will do. A gold medal, Soul Train Award, one of those little Nickelodeon blimps…it doesn’t matter really I’ll let y’all decide what kind. But some acknowledgment for my service to the world would be appreciated.


I’ll even settle for a good shout out. When Viola and Denzel accept their awards at the Oscars and they finish thanking God their spouses kids and mamas…it would be cool if they threw a big ups my way.

Why, you have the nerve to ask? I’ll tell you, guy who asks dumb questions. For being so damn chill. That’s right. I want recognition for my restraint. I wanna be nominated for Best Black Man who didn’t Wild Out Today. Where my Emmy at? Because I don’t keep it cool for my benefit. I do it for all of you. My chill is my gift to the world.


If I didn’t maintain this smooth aura of chill at all times I think the world in general would feel a little worse about itself. The creepy dude that stares when I walk in the room?  His eyes would be on his shoes after catching the words which I choose not to throw. Lil Miss Trump vote spouted some ignorance in my presence? Without this force field I got holding in this fire she would have no choice but to be stupid somewhere else.


And the same goes for DJ Stankbreath, MC Blinker-on-for-five-miles, and Yung Forgot-My-Pin-Number holding up the self checkout. Scorch marks all if not for the grace of this chill.  Respect the chill y’all. Respect the chill.

How to Bounce Back After Taking an L

All of us have to put a check in the loss column every now and then. Life is a dirty, random-ass game and that’s part of it. No one is immune to taking an L. And I’m not talking about the “Oh I just hit the wrong button in the vending machine and now I gotta eat this damn Almond Joy” kind of L. I’m talking about the “It’s a wrap I messed up my life, tell mama I’m coming home and I need gas money to get there” kind of L.


The kind of loss that makes you question your judgement, your skill, and everything you thought you were. It’s like the Etch-a-Sketch picture that is your life was finally starting to look like something, and your hyper ass little cousin came along and shook it up. And even if you weren’t too mad to try again you don’t even know where to start.


Coming back from that kind of loss is not easy. But as someone who may have been there once or twice and may even still get mail at that address, I can tell you that it’s possible. You might even become a stronger person because of it. Here’s a few tips on how to come back from taking that L.

Forgive Yourself

You messed things with your significant other. You didn’t quite get control of that new job in time and they let you go. You said that one thing to that one person that you do NOT say that thing to and now you’re paying the price. Failure is way worse when you know you can’t blame nobody but yourself.


Being mad or feeling sorry for yourself about a mistake can definitely slow down the comeback.  You’re allowed to feel the pain, in fact you couldn’t stop it if you wanted to, but you can’t wallow in your mistake. There will be more than enough obstacles on your way back to the top. Don’t be another one. It’s hard to make moves when you don’t trust or don’t believe in yourself. Let it go. Forgive yourself, shake it off, and get to work on getting back where you want to be.

Don’t Make Things Worse

Ok I can’t be the only one that does this. When I know I really messed up, I have a tendency to go for broke. My super power is thinking of the exact wrong thing to say in a sensitive situation and not only saying it, but saying it with the swag of Training Day Denzel.

This can be a satisfying vice but it is absolutely a vice. Going in on your boss after getting fired could cost your your next opportunity. Your girl went too far in the argument and you suggest a good barber to shape her mustache. Yes, her face was priceless. But it won’t still be funny two weeks later when she’s thirst trapping on Instagram with 110 likes. When did she get so hot?


Some mistakes are salvageable. A quick apology is not nearly as funny as that kill shot of a statement you got loaded in the chamber, but it can save you a lot of trouble in the long run.
Know that Life Isn’t Over

This is cliché, but I’m finding that the cliché advice is usually the most accurate. It’s never as bad as it seems. Life goes on. Learn from whatever you did and (this is important) DON’T REPEAT YOUR MISTAKES!!! If you take the same L in 2017 that you took in 2016 and 15 then bruh…you just bad at life. Something is broke and you need to fix it.

No Right Way to be Black: The Fear of Losing Your Blackness

I have quite a few irrational fears. There’s the one about being so ashy that I ignite my bedsheets and burn to death in my sleep. Also the one where a ladybug bite paralyzes me. One of my cousins told me that could happen when I was a kid.


But I think my most irrational fear is that I will somehow lose my blackness. Not my skin color…but the mulitfaceted, top secret, members only privileged set of skills and information that makes a black person a black person. As if I could missplace it one day like my car keys. Or that I’ll forget to renew my Black Card and my blackness will expire and I’ll just start clapping off beat and suddenly can’t remember what cocoa butter is for. I call this fear NoBlacknophobia (you get it? It’s like arachnophobia which is the fear of spiders accept I’m afraid of not being black. I don’t care if y’all got that, I thought it was funny af).

I’m not really sure when this fear started, but I suspect it happened when I moved away from home in pursuit of using my degree. Over the past six years I’ve been the only black person in the room so many times I’ve become numb to it. And the more progress I make in my career the more that seems to be the case. And that sucks for a few reasons. But the very fact that I can be afraid of such a thing as losing my blackness suggests that I think there is a right or a wrong way to be black.


Remember in 2015 when #askracheal was a thing? Everyone was posting hilarious memes and questions about black pop culture and shared experiences. Being black felt like sitting at the cool kids’ table and it was so affirming to be in on those jokes. At the time my workplace, my group of friends, and even my roommate were very white. And because of my NoBlacknophobia (hahaha), I was taking #askrachel way too seriously. I can’t remember if I came across a reference that I didn’t get, but I know I would have been too hurt if I did.

And it’s kinda ridiculous that I felt that way. Because as fun and as satisfying as it is to belong, there is no such thing as a right way to be black. And the idea that there is can be very limiting. The black guy that spends his weekend surfing is no less black than the black guy that spends his weekend selling his mixtape.


It’s a tricky subject because I do feel like it’s unacceptable to deny or downplay black culture. But it’s just as wrong to denounce someone who doesn’t have the same experience as the average black person, or to mock someone who is trying to branch out and try things that aren’t associated with the culture. At least in my humble opinion.

So can anyone relate? What’s up InHellExcel Nation, ever struggle with a case of NoBlacknophobia?

My Girl Made Me Fat so Beyonce Wouldn’t Want Me

And she was real sneaky about it too…like your white friend that voted for Trump. I didn’t even notice it.  She had me walking around feeling all good about myself, telling me how cute I am and whatnot. She’d call me sexy and I’d strut right past the gym with a big ole smile on my chubby face. Little did I know she was fattening me up so the Serenas and Beyonces of the world wouldn’t be checkin for me. It’s the only logical explanation. She’s a sultry super villain. Like a curvy version of the Joker.



“Ooh you were skinny!”

One of my sisters said that looking at a pic of me from a few years ago.


That was a lie of course because I have never been skinny. And I’m sure whenever that picture was taken, my family was still calling me fat. Cuz family. But that was the first time it occurred to me that maybe I had put on some weight. After that, I started seeing signs of my fatness all over the place. Especially in this disrespectful-ass mirror at my job. Me and this mirror got beef. Everyday it shows me Bruh Man from Martin wearing my clothes.


I confronted my girl about it last week. “You’d tell me if I was getting fat, right?” She told me how attracted she was to my body and how she liked that I wasn’t some skinny guy that she would break during sexy times. Had my head gone! Pimped me so good Kat Williams busted in the room gave her a hat with a feather in it and a proud look before he left.

But I’m gonna publicly make it known throughout the InHellExcel Nation that I’m on to her evil scheme. There’s no way that I’m just working a lot of hours at a very sedentary job. Or that I make more money and have less time so I eat out more than I used to.  Or that I dropped gym like low funded school. Nope. I know who the culprit is. And I got my eye on her.

How I’m Coping with the Election: My Good Mood Playlist

No, I don’t want to discuss it. I don’t want to analyze it and I don’t want to think about it. This week I developed a pissed-off version of Tourette’s that pops up at inconvenient times.

It has been the longest week ever and the weekend is finally here and all I want to do is get comfortable and ease my mind. And one thing that helps is my Good Mood playlist, which has been on repeat since Wednesday morning. What dat is? I guess I’ll tell you.


I’ve been slowly cultivating this playlist on YouTube for months. It’s an eclectic mix of hip hop, live performances, song covers, and straight ratchetness assembled to make me feel better about life at any given time. In the wake of the absolutely fuckery that has occurred in the presidential election, I thought I would share a few songs from my playlist to help anyone that’s the same shade of disgusted as I am. Let’s forget politics and talk music for a while shall we?

U Don’t Have to Call- Usher

Every time I think I’m sick of this song, by the time the chorus hits I’m completely invested in it again. That’s the mark of a classic. This song is required listening in the shower after a bad day. And by listening I mean singing at the top of my lungs while my girlfriend makes her hater face. Usher breaks this silly thing called life down in the very first line with that high-ass note that I can’t quite hit:

Situatioooooons….will ariiiiiiiiiiise

in our liiiiiiiiiiiiives, but you gotta be smart about it…

You ain’t never lied bruh.

And by the way, is this not the dopest video ever? It’s the perfect time capsule of the 2000’s. The too big white t-shirts. Those throwback jerseys in the closet. Those dumb ass shoes with wheels in the heels! Tell me you didn’t want a pair after this video! And this song is pretty refreshing to hear when all the R&B on the radio now is about sex. I think we could use that now. More fun music and LESS SONGS ABOUT GRABBING THE P…sorry. My Tourettes’s is acting up again.

No Problems- Chance the Rapper

I don’t know much about Chance the Rapper, but I have a theory about where he came from. See what had happened was…when Kanye proposed to Kim his personality split in two. His happy side didn’t want to be part of that reality tv, plastic surgery infused circus of a family, so it formed it’s own body and started calling itself Chance the Rapper.


“No Problems” is a joy from beginning to the end for one reason: that choir sample. Chance spiked this joint with the Holy Ghost. And the track is made out of happiness and Skittles. This song is not about lyrical content. It’s just for turning up loud and yelling. And sometimes that’s necessary.


I like Chance a lot, but his rap style in this song can only be described as enthusiastic mumbling. I can’t tell you two words he said in the verses. Then 2Chains pops up talkin bout Petey Pablo for some reason. Also Lil Wayne is there. I don’t know why, but it works. On the playlist it goes. I also recommend “Drinkin All Night” and “Finish Line”. Really the whole Coloring Book album is musical jelly beans.

Stupid Girls- Jazmine Sullivan

As much as I enjoy an enthusiastic mumble or two, I really appreciate a beautiful voice. And Jazmine Sullivan’s voice is audible chocolate covered strawberries. In this video she goes into a barber shop full of men and sings an acoustic version of her song “Stupid Girls”. Armed with only that voice and a white dude with a guitar, she hypnotizes the entire room. And shout out to the white dude for being down. I bet he didn’t cast his vote for hate.


I admit this really isn’t a happy song, but it does put me in a good mood. This thick, chocolate girl with the big smile is literally singing about how I aint shit and I’m sitting here like, “Ooh…tell me more!” I’m here for it. Get on my playlist Jazmine.

Michael Jackson Medley- L. Young

 

If y’all haven’t seen this, I’m jealous of you for getting to hear it for the first time. I wish I was half as good at literally anything as this cat is at singing. In this video he sings a medley of Michael Jackson hits with no music. He’s singing everything. Literally everything: the instrumentals, the background vocals, and he is KILLING IT. This dude is my favorite band and group all by his damn self!


He also does a 90’s medley in another video that’s straight fire. I’m thoroughly confused as to why this guy doesn’t have all our money. He’s a beast, and a staple on my Good Mood playlist.

 

Everybody- Fonzworth Bentley

Ok…I know. This is an odd choice. I doubt anybody even remembers this song but me. But I dare you to watch the video without smiling. I double-dog dare you. Everything about this is bizarre. How is it possible that the only track that Kanye and Andre 3000, arguably two of the greatest rappers to ever bless the mic, have only worked together as featured guests on a song for the guy that used to carry around an umbrella for Diddy? It’s the single craziest thing ever to happen.


3 Stacks delivers a solid verse, but this is all about the video. Look at Kanye! Is he not serious AF with these dance moves?! Oh is amazing to watch. Can you imagine them rehearsing? How many times do you think Ye threw a chair at somebody for missing a step?

I could go on forever. I haven’t even gotten into my Erykah Badu grooves, my favorite Ne-yo joints or my Stevie Wonder selections. You can listen to my Good Mood playlist as it is here (I update it pretty often) but I encourage everyone out there in the InHellExcel Nation to put together their own. It’s pretty therapeutic and it’s easy to get lost in a YouTube wormhole when one song leads to another, which leads to another. It’s a great distraction when life stops making sense.

 

A Teaching Moment: Don’t Touch Black Women’s Hair

A lot of y’all may have seen this already. But if not, it is my genuine pleasure to introduce you to this video:

On principle I never share videos promoting violence, but BRUH! If you watched that video once there’s no way you didn’t look at it at least two more times. It’s like visual potato chips…one just aint enough. Not only that, it’s completely justified. There is no question that kid earned every one of those five fingers to the face. Every stage of this seven second video is epic:

-The drumroll of the two white girls getting their hair pulled with very little reaction.

-The moment you notice that third girl in line was black and knew exactly how this was going to end.

-The fact that it all happens so fast! No time for a warning and no time for an “I’m sorry” after the fact. It is the rawest example of cause and effect I have ever seen.

-That slap tho! OH MY GAWD! If you had the sound off when you watched it the first time, go look at it again with volume. Any inkling I had that this was fake was gone after I heard that lick. 

The Lesson:

So rather than just share this video for the “Oh shit” reaction it will undoubtly get, I decided to make this a teaching moment for the InHellExcel Nation: DO NOT TOUCH A GIRL’S (ESPECIALLY A BLACK GIRL’S) HAIR WITHOUT HER CONSENT!!! Don’t do it fam. Does not matter your ethnicity…don’t do it. Does not matter if you’re a woman…don’t do it. Does not matter if she thinks you cute and you’ve known her since y’all was kids and her mama babysat your little brother that one time when he was home sick with the chickenpox…bruh. Do. Not. Do. It.


Now me being a grown-ass man who does his hair pulling while behind a consenting lady friend, I had no idea this ‘yaga’ mess was a thing. Apparently it was a Vine trend that went viral circa 2014. This particular video was from this year though. I guess these guys were trying to bring it back. Hopefully the yaga movement died along with all the nerve endings on the left side of dude’s face. So let’s do a play by play of this fuckery:


Sesame Street tried to teach y’all early to recognize differences. Khadija and Becky are not the same chick and will not have the same reaction. 


As quick as this video is, the first time I watched it I swear it was like slow motion at this point. The very slight moment of silence as she stood up…then the look on dude’s face. Real fear. RIP that guy. 


That slap was the only way that could have ended. No other possible outcome. It was giving Kobe the ball with 10 seconds on the clock in the 4th. It was putting a microphone in front of Donald Trump. It was giving me a slice of pizza right now. Kobe will shoot, Trump will say something stupid and I will stuff my face. In that order. End of story. That slap was like when your Street Fighter character catches that last punch that kills him. The one that echos as you fall in slow motion and you know you’re not getting back up. 

A fool learns from his own mistakes, a wise man learns from the mistakes of others. Let this fool teach you something InHellExcel Nation. Don’t do it fam. 

Echoing Opinions: The Danger in Ignoring the Other Side

Sometimes I think people only want to hear their own opinions echoed back to themselves…kinda like a Jeezy adlib.

I know I’m guilty of it.  I used to be in awe that Trump was doing so well in the polls. Me and everyone on my timeline were only talking about how he’s batshit crazy…so how the hell could he be winning?  Then it hit me that I have mostly liberal people on my social media. There was an opposite opinion I was almost completely ignoring. I was stuck in my own little bubble of like-minded people.


I swerved the other side’s argument like it was a Drake kiss and my name was Rihanna. And I do it all the time. I can be listening to someone talk and if the wrong thing is said, I can cut off my attention like a Tyga verse just came on.

The danger in ignoring the other side is that you miss valid points that might be necessary for an informed decision.

Don’t get me wrong though. Some folks are just plain wrong. I can’t support hatred in any form. On my Kaepernick, I just can’t stand for it.


But I know I should do a better job of listening to people with opposing views. It’s smart to make sure they ain’t making just a little bit of sense before completely ignoring them.