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mcartney live Everywhere I Go People Are Happy

Paul McCartney lives in a world where it’s all about him. And he turns it around. (image by ZioWoody).

You open the door and quickly slide into another forgettable Starbucks to escape the rain and an audible gasp emits from the packed store. After realizing they’re not dreaming, the group breaks into a frantic applause.

All because you walked in for mediocre cup of coffee.

Faces light up like Christmas trees, camera phones are out so fast you’d think they were in holsters and one woman in her 50’s is crying. This’ll be a story she tells for the rest of her life. It doesn’t matter if the person you encounter is a regular Joe in the men’s room or the President of the United States, the reaction is always the same: they can’t believe it’s actually you.

This is how Paul McCartney has lived every day for the past 50 years.

Can you imagine people reacting to you like this, every day? It would flip your brain inside-out and seriously warp your sense of reality. It would turn you into a monster. Or at least someone whose self-importance is so off the charts they lose touch with what it means to be a real person. It’s happening to Justin Bieber right now, and I don’t have to tell you it’s not going well. And with Paul, it’s Bieber times ten. No one could handle this for a month, let alone for the past 50 years. Except for him.

A-list celebrities who duck people for sport on a daily basis are turned into giggling school girls and teenage boys with crushes when they see McCartney. We’ve all dreamed about being famous, and those who’ve had this dream come true talk about how it consumes them. Especially when they’re out with their kids, or just want to grab a sandwich. It killed Kurt Cobain. It would have killed me in my 20’s to go from living in an old house that leaned too far to the left with five other guys, to international super-stardom where I gave hope to an entire generation who grew up in a broken home. It’s a lot of pressure, especially if you don’t have the tool to deal with it like Kurt. It’s too much for almost everyone on this planet, except for, well, Paul McCartney.

How does he deal with it? Well, a story first. I was listening to the WTF podcast by comedian Marc Maron, and he was interviewing one of my favorite people in the world, Dave Grohl. They were talking about Dave’s incredible documentary, Sound City (the best movie I saw last year) when the conversation steered toward the time Grohl spent in the studio recording with Paul McCartney for the movie. Few musicians are more famous than Dave right now, and he was giddy and blown away working with Sir Paul. He said it was an entire day of his life flashing before his eyes, but in a good way. McCartney was the entire reason he ever played music.

davegrohl Everywhere I Go People Are Happy

Grohl: “Paul McCartney understands his place in the universe.” (image by Nizzam Udin)

The conversation downshifted to how anything gets done when people are so starstruck. Literally every person working on the record from the musicians to the engineers were, at one point in their youth influenced listening to the Beatles laying on shag carpet while a 45 spun on their record player. Then clarity came when Dave explained how Paul McCartney is so damn good at being Paul McCartney.

“He gets it.” Grohl said. “He understands how you feel when you meet him, and he let’s you know you’re ok. He’s a wonderful person, and totally understands his role in the universe. In a very realistic sense.”

How many of us understand our role in the Universe? Hands please.

To add a little more context to Dave’s explanation, a rock journalist who interviewed McCartney asked about this phenomenon that everywhere he goes, people go bat-shit. The former Beatle remarked on how great it was.

“It’s one of the great luxuries of my life. Everywhere I go, people are happy.”

Wow. You could see it during the big 50th Anniversary Beatles celebration on CBS a couple weeks ago. Every star who played a Beatles song was looking for validation from McCartney, and he was happy to give it – whether he they butchered the song or not. And many did (including Ringo). He understood how happy those musicians were to play those incredible songs that only get better with age, and how much it meant to them.

So, in a world where it’s all about him, Paul McCartney makes it about you. And if you step back and look at it, this is the only way to handle a level of fame that maybe a handful of people in the past 50 years have ever attained. You don’t fight fame that intense, you embrace the feeling it has on others.

In a time where celebrities are epic disasters, the biggest one on the planet is teaching us all about how to be happy and deal with people: make life about them, not you. Maybe, in time he could have taught Kurt that instead of fighting the wave, he should have been riding it.

Probably good advice for all of us.

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I originally wrote this post right after the Seattle Seahawks hired Pete Carroll as their head coach over four years ago. I’m not re-posting as an “I told you so,” but because we haven’t had many reasons to smile when it comes to sports here in Seattle the past couple decades. Seeing the Seahawks take over every major news network, ESPN and the Internet is surreal when you have the webbed feet of a Pacific Northwest native. Yesterday, CNN broke into their newscast to air the Richard Sherman press conference in Renton. How awesome is this?  -  CP

11243492035 91bfab25a5 z From the Archives: 12 Reasons Pete Carroll Will Succeed in Seattle

The Legion of Boom horrifies another QB.

Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect. ~Mark Twain

I love being on the other side of the majority. If the reality TV craze has taught us anything, it’s never to follow the masses blindly. They watch stuff like The Jersey Shore, Flavor of Love and The Bachelor. Well,  the masses have spoken, and they do not like that Pete Carroll is officially the new coach of the Seattle Seahawks. And while I would have rather have had Bill Cowher, Tony Dungy or maybe even John Fox, this is not the tragedy the city of Seattle thinks it is. It’s going to work.

I’m usually the first one to criticize a front office of any sports team, but there’s a good argument against every blowhard that’s called sport-talk radio over the past four days and complained about Pete Carroll being hired by Paul Allen.  And here it is:

1.  Being the head coach of a pro football team is not a coaching job, it’s a management job. That’s why so many first time head coaches fail. They go from X’s and O’s guys to a people manager and have no idea what they’re doing. Pete’s been a manager now in a very high-profile situation for 10 years after falling on his face the first two times in the NFL (in hard-core media markets). Look at Bill Belichick, he had a worse record after two stints, but nailed it on his third try.

2. Drew Bledsoe and Lawyer Milloy have already spoken out about how much they love him as a coach, and a person. Bledsoe thought he would be a “great fit in Seattle,” and added, “I really would have loved to have played for the guy for a bunch of my career.”

3.  Aren’t we all better at our jobs than we were 10 years ago? Unless Carroll’s a complete moron, he’s learned from the mistakes he made in New York and New England.

4.  He’s a proven NFL coordinator. Most coaches who make the transition from college to pro don’t have pro experience going for them. They didn’t know the NFL game — Pete does.

5. 95% of the players in the NFL only know Pete as the most successful college football coach of their lifetime, not the guy who was a tad better than .500 in the NFL 10 years ago. They look up to him with respect.

6.  Quarterback Matt Hasselbeck has already spoken to Carroll and came away impressed and pumped to start the year (Reported by Matt’s brother, ESPN football analyst Tim Hasselbeck).

7. Who is going to know the college players eligible for the NFL Draft the next two years better than Pete? The Hawks next two drafts will be fantastic.

8.  USC football operates more like an NFL team than a college team. He’s been managing a ton of assistants in  big-time media market and coached in HUGE games for a decade now.

9. He took a USC program that was in complete disarray to one that produced three Heisman Trophy winners, two national titles and seven consecutive Pacific 10 Conference championships in nine years. Not to mention sending a ton of players to the NFL. That’s phenomenal.

10. The national buzz has been great for the Seahawks.

11. The assistant coaches he’s put in place already seemed to be heads and tails better than former coach Jim Mora’s guys.

12. He’s had four other NFL teams after him the past few years. It’s not just the Seahawks who had this bright idea.

As an added bonus, we’re going to get some great writing from the Sports Guy from all this. No one hates Pete Carroll like a Patriots fan.

Follow me on Twitter here.

(Image by russell3wilson3 courtesy of Creative Commons)

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santa 300x221 Heres What Happens When Santa Doesnt DeliverI was trying to teach him a life lesson.

Boy #1 is a pretty easy kid. He’s always in a good mood, up for anything, does what he’s told (most of the time), loves people, and is a joy to be around. A couple of years ago he asked Santa for a Nintendo DS and was really hoping the fat man would deliver on Christmas morning.

Like most families, my kids have way too much stuff. The big concern is that they’re going to get to the point where they’re never satisfied with anything because all the crap that ends up in our house. They may not have as much as a few of their friends, but they want for nothing. My big plan was not to give them everything they wanted for Christmas. It’s a good life lesson: you don’t get everything you want, and learn to appreciate what you have.

Well, it seemed like a good idea at the time.

So Christmas morning arrives, and the kids come in every 1/2 hour starting at 3:30. Finally, around 6 AM I give them the green light, and they attacked the living room with a vengeance.

They sailed down the stairs like the house was on fire. There were about 15 seconds of silence followed a flurry of activity and a couple of “all rights!!” And then an audible gasp. This horrible sound was followed by a very confused and dismayed muttering by Boy #1.

“What? No, DS?”

It was the same voice Molly Ringwald used when confronting Andrew McCarthy in Pretty in Pink after she realized he was stiffing her for the prom. Confusion and pain mixed with just a whisper of desperation.

He was silent for about 7 seconds, then the very soft, quiet sobbing started. It wasn’t crying, it was much worse. And he wasn’t sad, he was hurt. Then came the worst part. It was like a punch in the face to a parent who is trying to do the right thing. Between sobs, he tried to make sense of the injustice by saying:

“I thought I was good this year.”

I’ve been horrified before. I was horrified when I got pants-ed by my next door neighbor in the 5th grade. I was horrified when David Lee Roth left Van Halen. And I was horrified when legendary Hall of Fame college basketball coach Marv Harshman screamed what an idiot I was in front of the entire basketball camp in 1986 after I messed up a fast-break. But this was the topper. I had no feeling in my feet.

At that point, I would have dropped 20 grand on a gold-plated DS and every game imaginable. Hell, I would have bought him a grill with a diamond-studded “DS” and let him wear it to school after New Years. Is there anything worse than finding out that your grand plan as a parent has completely backfired? The message was supposed to be about appreciating what you have, not that you were bad. Honestly, I would have scissor-kicked Santa in the head at this point.

So, how bad did this plan backfire? He got a DS with games for his birthday a few months later. We all need to keep in mind as we stumble through life that having kids is a learning process for parents too.

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I Don’t Feel Tardy

But man, am I ever tardy. In the words of the infamous David Lee Roth, “I think about all the education that I’ve missed.” Well, I’ve made up for some of it the past few months. Between many hours at work, many more cooking and cleaning for my incredibly awesome, but high-maintenance offspring, I’ve also […]

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