The Fez of Inspiration

I know in the past I’ve mocked the concept of inspirational memes and the value of inspirational posters. It’s entirely possible that when I see a photo of a random person accompanied by a caption in Futura Bold telling me that if they can overcome the loss of a leg, a kidney, half a brain hemisphere, and their pet goldfish so what’s my excuse that I become suspicious rather than motivated. I’ve even stated that “Whenever somebody says their reason for doing something is ‘to inspire people,’ I always wonder how they can misspell “for attention” so badly. (Yes, I paraphrased it in that link, but you know, Twitter.)

Still, I have to wonder if maybe I’ve been a little bit cynical. A little bit dour. A little bit not in the spirit of every fucking OCR group on Facebook holy shit don’t these people have anything better to do with their lives than post useless crap and pretend that it has any actual reflection of their personality, ability, capability, worth, or… I’m digressing, aren’t I?
Maybe it’s time for me to give this whole “inspiration” thing a try.

And now is the perfect time. As I’m writing this post, I’m on an Amtrak train to St. Louis. (There’s supposed to be WiFi, but I haven’t tested it, so the actual posting might not happen until I get to the hotel. That’s not a terribly important detail, but it adds a bit of color to the discussion. I mean, beige is a color, technically.)

The reason I’m going to St. Louis is that tomorrow I’ll be doing the Battlegrounds Mud Run. And because I want to inspire people, I’m going to do it while wearing a fez.

Now, I can hear you saying, “What’s so inspirational about a fez?” To that I say, “What’s not inspirational about a fez?” Look at what I had to overcome:

  • I had to locate a fez. Do you know how hard that is? It’s not like there’s a fez store. Most stores don’t even have fez departments.
  • Once I found a place where a fez might be, I had to go there. On a bicycle. I mean, I could have taken the CTA, but I took a bike anyhow because I don’t do anything half-assed, and because it was a nice day and I enjoy biking.
  • At the fez store, which wasn’t actually a fez store, it was just a costume store, I had to actually find the fez. One of the people who worked there came up to me and asked if she could help me find something, and I actually had to respond. Do you know how traumatizing that is? (I mean, it kind of is. I always feel a bit awkward in stores when I can’t find what I want.)
  • Then, since the fez was on an upper shelf, I had to wait while the attendant got a stepladder, and then climb to retrieve the fez. Do you know how emasculating that is, standing there while a lady climbs two whole steps on my behalf? But I did it to show that you too can be a better person.
  • Then, decision time: It turns out there were two fez options. One was maroon, and the other was a bright red, but it had a tassel and was $3 cheaper, so that’s the one I went with. It just goes to show what wonderful things can happen if you trust your instincts and go with your gut and make a decision decisively.
  • A fez isn’t necessarily an easy garment to wear during an OCR, due to the propensity of headgear to fall off. To solve that, I thought of elastic straps. But that meant also buying the elastic. And that, I can tell you, was traumatizing. Oh, sure, Tim Gunn’s out there spreading malarkey about how fabric shops are bright and friendly and have cute little dogs for you to pet, but that is a myth. The fabric shop I went to was dark and dingy and the people working there were angry at existence. I have never felt more judged for simply walking into a room, apart from when I visit my parents. Once there… I mean, what is elastic anyway? Is it a fabric? An accessory? A notion? Upholstery? I sure as fuck wasn’t going to ask anyone, because they clearly wanted to eat me. But I did eventually find some. It just goes to show that with a little bit of dedication and four hours of searching, you can find anything you need.
  • And now (if the WiFi works) or a few hours ago (if not), there’s the attaching of the elastic to the fez. Yeah, I’m going to have to sew. Elastic. To a fez. On a train. Braving the confused glares of my fellow passengers, and the potential pinpricks of my own clumsiness.
  • And then, tomorrow. What if people laugh? What if people cry? What if nobody gives me the attention is inspired the way I’m hoping?

me in a fez

The Fez of Inspiration, pre-elastic-installation

But I’m going to do it, because you have to dream big, and a life without risk is a life spent playing board games with even less strategy, like Candyland, or (ironically) Life.



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2 responses to “The Fez of Inspiration

  1. Pingback: How To Get Cast On American Ninja Warrior* | Fat Boy Big Wall

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