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by David Todd McCarty | Wednesday, December 2, 2015

I wrote the following piece almost ten years ago. It says as much about who I was then as it does about the changes in the world since then.


I was raised with the firm belief that honesty was a thing to be valued. Telling the truth was the most important thing a man could do. It was, in fact, what separated the good people from the bad, the honorable from the dishonorable. But over the course of the last 38 years, I’ve begun to change my mind.

The truth, I have discovered, is highly overrated.

When you’re young, it’s acceptable to tell an inappropriate truth. Sometimes, it’s even considered cute.

“What’s wrong with your face,” you may ask a severely burned man at the bank.

The question “Are you a man or a woman?” is directed at the unfortunate looking person in the checkout lane at the grocery store.

Even the cable repairman might be greeted at the door with the news, “My Mommy isn’t wearing any panties.”

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by David Todd McCarty | Friday, November 20, 2015

We have a saying in the McCarty family: Often wrong, but never in doubt.  No one has ever accused a McCarty of not having a strong opinion. Even in the face of insurmountable odds, we’re sure we’re going the right way, have the right tools for the job, and understand clearly how to achieve the goal at hand. That’s not to say we haven’t ended up at the bottom of a cliff, or on the wrong side of the barrel of a gun in the course of our efforts.

But we’re confident, not stupid. We realize we get it wrong as often as we get it right, but that doesn’t stop us from believing wholeheartedly in our vision of success. Which is to say, I come by it honestly, and I’m aware of my limitations in rare moments of reflection.

We’re an old Irish clan, so it should come as no big surprise that we have big ideas and strong opinions. We come from an island of Kings. Kingdoms with no power and no wealth. Pride is what we had instead of land and riches.

My family, originally known as the Mac Cárthaigh clan comes from County Cork, which is one of the oldest clans in Ireland. The motto on our coat of arms is, “Nothing is Difficult to the Brave and Faithful.” That’s pretty cocky if you ask me.

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by David Todd McCarty | Thursday, November 19, 2015

We love lists in this country. We like to make them. We like to read them. If this wasn’t true click-farms like BuzzFeed and Huffington Post wouldn’t post so damn many of them. The lists don’t actually have to be that good because it’s all about the headline. If you click on the headline, they get paid. They don’t really give a shit if you read it or not. Actually that’s not true. They want you to forward to a friend with the phrase, “I can’t stop laughing.”

These are a small sample I found on just one page of BuzzFeed. These are all real.

24 Things That Happen Every Time You Get Drunk.
11 Reasons Why Christmas Is Actually The Scariest Holiday
24 Reasons Why Netflix Is The Most Important Thing In Your Life.
14 Celebrity Names You ALWAYS Have To Google.
11 Signs You’re At A Filipino Party.

Apparently Top Tens were so 2007 and they wanted to appeal to those wacky millennials with their offbeat sense of humor and fancy shoes. So they tend to mix it up a bit.

Eleven seems to be a big number for lists. That makes sense I guess. It’s basically a Top Ten with an extra one thrown in. Maybe a Spinal Tap reference. They go to eleven.  But that seems too retro for the current crop of hipsters. Or has it gotten old enough to be cool? I’m not sure. Eleven is a funny number, though. Just ask the Scottish [WATCH VIDEO].

Twenty-four also seemed to come up quite a bit but that seemed more of a mystery to me. Is it a Jack Bauer reference? The number hours in a day? Simply an overachieving writer? It’s hard to know what evil machinations reside in the minds of BuzzFeed editors.

So, I decided to come with my own list. I can’t really speak intelligently about the current crop of celebrities and I’m not all that hip on the latest pop culture references, so I stayed away from any of that. They say to write what you know, so as far as I can tell, these are:

THE 11 WORST PEOPLE IN AMERICA

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by David Todd McCarty | Friday, November 13, 2015

Everyone will tell you how they lost the weight. They can’t wait to tell you how they lost the weight. But no one tells you how they gained the weight. I’m sure it’s no mystery. Eat shitty. Sedentary lifestyle. Booze.

Well, this is my story.

I went to the doctor recently to make sure I wasn’t dying. So far so good, but they’re still going to do some tests. One involves sticking something down my throat. The other involves sticking something up my ass. Maybe they’ll meet in the middle and just determine that I’m too fat.

When I was a kid, I was really skinny. I would try lighting weights and taking protein powders. Nothing. I was a rail. Of course I was also really active. Sports. Cycling. Swimming. Just plain old running around. I was a kid on the move. No moss growing on me.

Sometime after college, when I had ceased to play sports and had discovered beer, I began to put on weight. But not in the way I had been hoping to in high school. It wasn’t extreme, but I wasn’t thin as a rail anymore.

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by David Todd McCarty | Tuesday, November 3, 2015

We live in a loud world.

The music. The traffic. The colors. The entertainment. The styles. The music. It’s all deafening.

Kanye and Kardashians. Big egos and asses. Poster children for the era we currently find ourselves in. All hype. No humility.

Even the written word seems to have gotten loud. John Stewart doesn’t make a joke. He destroys. Obama doesn’t make a point. He annihilates the Republicans. She’s not pretty, she’s stunning. You didn’t find something amusing, you can’t stop laughing. It’s not mildly interesting, you won’t be able to believe your eyes.

There is no cool anymore. Just hype.

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by David Todd McCarty | Monday, November 2, 2015

“Our kids don’t really know how to play independently, seldom get lost in their imaginations, and are always two feet away from us. It drives us nuts. You’d think we spoiled them rotten but it sure doesn’t seem like we did. I’ve written about this as a cultural phenomenon of “narrowing worlds and great expectations” for parents but I can’t believe everyone struggles with this to the same extent as us. If you do, let me know! I don’t remember needing my parents so much in order to play. We didn’t access our parents so much when we were kids. We went outside and played and didn’t want to come in. Shouldn’t kids want to be away from their parents to not be watched so closely? It doesn’t make any sense to me. I can’t help but think we are blind to something we are doing to perpetuate this.”

My brother wrote this a few weeks ago and I’ve thought a lot about it since then and I’ve come up with one very simple truth that defines the difference between parents today and our parents a generation ago. We were afraid of our parents. Your kids aren’t.

I’m not talking about an abusive relationship, but there was a distance. They were adults. We were children. We didn’t expect them to come play with us. They had different lives that frankly, we weren’t invited to be a part of. If we weren’t outright afraid of them, we were at least a little intimidated by them. Now everyone tries to be their kid’s best friend.

There are other factors of course. We grew up in a time where it was perfectly acceptable to leave the house and be gone all day with zero supervision. I’m talking like 6-12 years of age. Try doing that today. Even if you wanted to, you’d probably get locked up.

When I was in the first grade, we lived in Edmond, Oklahoma. I would go play on the playground at the elementary school a few doors down. Sometimes, me and a friend would walk the two blocks to the local grocery store, and if we had money, buy a candy bar. I had to wait at the light and cross the street. This wasn’t a dirt road in the middle of nowhere. It was a typical suburban neighborhood.

I also remember being able to ride my bike to the local Five and Dime, a Woolworths. I honestly don’t remember how far it was, but far enough. At least part of it involved a trail between two houses. I would go buy BB’s for my Wrist Rocket, a high powered sling shot that was strong enough to break bottles. I would bring money, and buy bb’s, which even then the clerk had to get out of a locked case.

I was six.

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by David Todd McCarty | Thursday, October 29, 2015

“It’s almost that time of year when underaged kids get into costume and traipse around the neighborhood ringing doorbells and begging for treats.”

When it comes to Halloween, I believe the world is split into two groups: those who love Halloween, and those who think it’s a pointless waste of time and money spent trying to recapture your youth and somehow simultaneously dressing like pimps and whores.

I’m in the second group.

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Episode 8.0. In which my last remaining Uncle, Alan Newell McCarty comes to visit and tell stories. When I was a kid, we knew him as Alan, but at some point in his adult life, he decided to go by Newell. Alan is 67 and my father’s youngest brother. We lost the middle child some years back.

This is a long one; over three hours. We’re Irish so we’ll talk about anything. God, politics, the environment, the afterlife and of course, the Irish. But then we also spent a lot of time talking about his life. I was really going to edit it, but since so much of it is a retelling of his life, from childhood on, I decided not to…for posterity.

We were getting a little warm in the studio after awhile, so at some point I opened the window, so there’s a lot of road noise. Deal with it. Also, there might be one point where leave Alan talking and go freshen up my drink. Oh, and we might have been drinking. Just a wee bit.

So sit back and enjoy some Irish storytelling. Mostly Alan telling stories, and my mostly interrupting.

Three hours is a long time for me to sit quietly.

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by David Todd McCarty | Thursday, October 15, 2015

 

My wife Jane thinks it’s silly to talk about having a fire in the fireplace.

“Where else would you light a fire? The sink?” she’ll say.

I guess she has a point, but it sounds strange to simply say, “I think I’ll start a fire” then walk into the other room.

I grew up with a fireplace and I have one today. It’s glorious.

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