Seattle, Some Humility, and the Part Where I Cry Again

humility and ballsDisclaimer: Guys, skip a few paragraphs down. You don’t want to read this part.

You would think that by age 39, I would know when I’m supposed to get my period. You would also think that I would keep tampons in at least 17 different locations after being caught without them countless times over the past 20 years.

Guys: I warned you. Skip this part.

My week began with a meandering down to Denver for my annual Well Woman exam, which is insurance-speak for “willingly getting violated like a parking meter without being bought dinner first.” I arrived, decided to pee pre-appointment, and BAM! I’m on my period. Which means not only can I not have my Well Woman exam that day, but I’ve now driven to Denver 3 hours early and have to come back the following week for the same goddamned exam.

I also have no tampons. Which means I have to meander over to the Walgreens on Colfax that smells like urine and buy a box to add to the no less than 4 boxed already under the bathroom sink at my apartment that came to be in my possession on account of similar situations. I mean, not only is every day at age 39 still an exercise of Easter Egg Hunt proportions when looking for my car keys, I can take a little pill every day yet be completely oblivious to the fact that, when I finish that outer ring of pills, I’M GOING TO BLEED. This isn’t something new! It’s been happening for 20+ years. Yet this month, it all snowballs into a Walgreens-that-smells-like-pee-botched-Pap-smear-fifth-box-of-tampons hell, 30-some-odd miles from my house on a bloody (pun intended) Monday morning. So I cried. I’ll blame the hormones. Whatevs.


GUYS: It’s OK to read from here on out.

PNWd! I’m Coming to Seattle

So! If you’re in the Seattle area, I will be, too! Here are the details, and I’d love to meet you:

Date: Wednesday, August 29
Time: 7pm
Location: Third Place Books, Lake Forest Park
Link to the Facebook Event  


A Bit About Having Balls (and no legs)

I’m starting to publish more over the the blog for The Power of Unpopular — bold branding and advertising moves, things done right and things done wrong. Yesterday, I wrote this piece that featured a DID THAT JUST HAPPEN?! kind of campaign from the London 2012 Paralympics (and thanks to Kelly Tidd for bringing the included video to my attention).

But here’s the “more ossum” story.

I’m humbled to be in the company of the other speakers selected for TEDx Boulder 2012. Last night, we had our first Speakers Dinner so we could all chat, get to know one another…and guess who I met?

THE WOMAN WHO WORKS ON THE TEAMS WHO DESIGNED THE AMAZING PROSTHESIS FOR OSCAR PISTORIUS (aka The Blade Runner). Her name is Alena Grabowski, and lemme tell ya — I have never sat next to someone whose eyes sparkle with unbridled excitement when she talks about biometrics and prosthesis design. Hell, it’s rare I sit next to anyone who sparkles when they talk about what they do for a living, so it was a MIND=BLOWN moment all the way around.

And you know what? Alena and I are the same age. And…she’s only been working in her field for five years. AND…there’s something to think about if you’ve ever thought it’s too late to change direction in your life and embrace a “second act” that changes lives.

How fucking cool is that? I can’t wait to hear her TEDx talk.

And a Reminder to be Humble

Here’s something to do today: ditch your friends for lunch. Or drinks. Or dinner. Make the requisite apologies and get the hell away from these folks. And don’t worry – you can come back to them, but not until you’ve done something else.

Find a way to insert yourself and surround yourself with people you don’t know who don’t do what you do. Get out of your protective-outer-coating-bubble and get humble. I had one of these moments at the TEDx Speakers Dinner last night and my mind was swimming for HOURS following — and all with good things. It’s still swimming and has been since 3:45AM when my fucking neighbor whose kitchen shares a wall with MY BEDROOM decided to make breakfast/chase a mouse/build a chest of drawers and started slamming kitchen cabinets. But I digress.

Commit to yourself that you’ll build forceable moments of humility into your life. I assure you — I used to think that I had the most brilliant, unimpeachable ideas in the world. Today, I know my ideas can only grow, improve, and thrive through others…

I dunno…maybe yours will get better when you leave the all-to-familiar echo chamber behind, too.

Picture of a naked baby anteater.





Mark Aaron Murnahan
Mark Aaron Murnahan

This is very important on multiple levels. I consider humility a critical part of my life - Personally and professionally. Of course, I have help from the fact that I am a former corporate chief looking for a new job ... with a fourth child on the way. That kind of helps! :-D

Dennis (Higgipedia) Higgins
Dennis (Higgipedia) Higgins

"AND…there’s something to think about if you’ve ever thought it’s too late to change direction in your life and embrace a “second act” that changes lives." I'm on my third career. Well, I'm training for my third career, but you know what I mean. I worked for five years as a project manager at a software company, then spent nine years doing the interrogator thing for the Army, and now I'm working on Clinical Psych. At the earliest, I'll be 42 when I get my PhD and embark on Higgipedia v3.0. I had a discussion with one of my professors while I was volunteering down in St. Croix this summer about this kind of topic. We agreed that people do a disservice to themselves when they don't attempt to change their lives at some point. Sure, there are those people that knew they'd be a Broadway star since they were 5, but those people aren't like US. Malcolm Gladwell writes books about those people, he doesn't write books about US. BUT, those are the books people read and that turns into the things people think. It *is* a challenge to reinvent yourself, but maybe you don't need to reinvent yourself. There is still a lot of the same person in the 37-year old psychology student that was in the 26-year old slacker film school dropout that enlisted in the U.S. Army. I modified myself, but I didn't create a whole new person. I built on my previous experiences to make my future experiences better and more rewarding-for me and for everyone else involved. I'd be curious how many people who have done amazing things took the "roundabout" way to success. I know you did, and that's one of the reasons why the Redhead Writing empire is so mighty. Hopefully, after grad school, the Higgipedia empire will be half as mighty.


I argued. I debated. I cajoled. I stated my case clearly, respectfully and in the end I got what I demanded. What was rightfully mine. What no woman, no matter how invigorated women's rights was in the early 70s could deny me as a 10 year old boy. Moments from being a man. I won. It was not fair that the boys had to go outside and play dodgeball while the girls got to watch a movie. So I sat... and watched... the most terrifying thing I have ever seen in my life. Walt Disney's Menstruation & VD Despite this event I would later go on to ask my (then) wife if it hurt a lot to take maxi-pads off because you know, it's like a sticker, and there's hair there and... well it turns out I had that whole thing backwards. Literally. And now this... Did I heed the warning. No, no I did not. Now I am filled with sad. And, if I'm being honest, I think I know why they made you pay to clean off that mountain bike.