Monthly Archives: November 2015

There Is No Competition 

I feel like I’ve had it all wrong for years and years and years of my life, and it just recently dawned on me while I was eating carrots. No, I don’t think the carrots had anything to do with it, it was just that I was eating carrots at the time. 

I realized…

There is no competition. 

I’m going to put that there, and for a moment in your life, you’re going to listen to someone, and embrace that it’s an absolute fact. 

There is no competition. 

Well, what do I mean by that, exactly?

See the person to your right that you’re running against?

You’re not running against them!!!  You’re running against yourself. 

See your potential RIGHT THERE you can barely reach it right now because you haven’t figured out how to. But if you keep on, keep on, keep on, KEEP ON reaching, you’re going to get closer and closer and closer still to your POTENTIAL. 

I capitalized that word because it’s SO important. 

When you “lose the game” you don’t lose it because you weren’t first when you crossed the finish line. NO. You didn’t win because you didn’t reach your potential. THAT’S ALL WE HAVE!!!  Oh you didn’t WIN who cares?!?!  What matters is you live up to your potential. We are ALL given potential, maybe more some than others. But, maybe not?  I believe people every, every day SABOTAGE their potential. I see it all the time from behind the bar. They’d rather hide behind a drink. They’re afraid to fail so they don’t ATTEMPT and then they get NO WHERE and no closer to their potential. 

I’ve always thought, at the end of our lives, we die, then we stand before GOD and most of us who haven’t really lived will bow their heads in shame because God will have his clipboard and look down the list at all those potential moments in your life you could have lived 

If you weren’t so terrified of losing. 

And I’m here to say, as simply as I can, that you’ll never lose if you don’t STRIVE TOOTH AND NAIL to reach your potential. 

Then God will give you a hug, and some ranch for your carrots. 

-Clint Curtis

Bands Canceled The Show Because Jordan Got His Fingers Cut Off

I’m working a real estate deal, and ironing mounds of shirts. Why do them at the same time? They put in an offer, you get with your seller, you talk about it, come up with a counter-offer. Then you go back to the selling agent, tell them the deets, they go back to their client. And then back and forth it goes. 340k with the red couch… 330k with the red couch and the coffee table and the vase. So you’re sitting there, waiting, trying to keep your cool through it, might as well iron some shirts, take the mind off it.

It’s 8pm, the deal’s not done, but it’s time to go work at the bar. It’s snowing heavily out, the first snow of the year, better leave early. I hang up my 19th shirt, take off.

I get in around 8:30pm start setting up the bar. Some of the band members are there, loading in gear. I start out with getting the ice.

As I’m scooping, I hear, extremely loud, AHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!! What in the holy hell? Probably some of the band members horsing around. Or maybe it’s serious, I don’t know. I peak my head out down the hall, I see the sound guy, walk by, expressionless. Huh. Band must be just getting crazy. I scoop the ice, two buckets full, I make my way back to the bar.

As I’m walking by the stage, a band member passes me by, I say, what was that? He says, Jordan. He cut his fingers off.


Cut his fingers off?

I look over quickly, I see Jordan, in one of those old school letterman’s jackets, maybe a bit too small for him, pacing back and forth, holding his hand. Uh-oh. What just happened?

He starts screaming. AHHHHHHH. It almost seems fake he’s going on so much.

Then I see the blood.

It’s just pouring through his fingertips. Shit.

I exclaim, WHAT THE HELL HAPPENED?!? Band member says, Jordan was loading in an amp, he slipped, the amp fell down on his fingers. I say, Jesus Christ! Yeah, he says. I PICKED UP HIS FINGER OUTSIDE.

I look over, Jordan is pacing still, but now he’s on the phone, talking to someone rapidly. My name is Jordan Black I’m at the Vaudeville Mews, I CUT OFF TWO OF MY FINGERS!!!

Holy cripes. I get the shivers just hearing it. I’m trying to not look at his hand. I take it he’s calling for an ambulance. I’m wondering why none of us around the room is calling for him. I think it’s because WE’RE ALL IN SHOCK. Blood is dripping EVERYWHERE.

He gets off the phone, he comes to the bar, we get him a pitcher of ice, he shoves his hand down in it. It’s his right hand too. For being a young kid like he is, the kid’s a virtuoso. He plays drums, guitar, bass, who knows what else. He’s saying, painfully, I MAY NOT BE ABLE TO PLAY MUSIC AGAIN!!! This is absolutely heartbreaking. I say, as calmly as possible,

Jordan. Listen to me. Don’t worry about tomorrow. You need to get through RIGHT NOW. Focus on getting through this moment RIGHT NOW. Don’t worry about anything else. He puts his head down, says sincerely, thanks, Clint. He gets back on the phone, says, Mom. Don’t worry…but I just cut two of my fingers off. I look down at the pitcher. It’s turning red. He is losing a lot of blood. This is absolutely horrifying.

Then he says, I don’t care. I’m playing the gig tonight.

He’s in shock.

Everyone around him says, Jordan, no you’re not. It’s ok, don’t worry about it. Then he starts apologizing. I’m so sorry… Jesus this kid is amazing. His fingers got cut off, and he still feels bad about NOT PLAYING THE GIG. This kid IS TO BE ADMIRED.

Sirens get closer and closer, I say, Jordan. Can you walk outside, I think the ambulance is here. He says, yeah. I say, keep the pitcher, don’t worry about it. He says, ok, and exits.

Everybody in the room, all the band members, just stand around in shock. We’re all just shaking our heads. Poor Jordan. To happen to this kid. Not good. I KNOW I KNOW he’s going to be able to play again. I just know it. They’ll be able to fix it, he’ll be back on his feet on stage in no time.

The bands decide to cancel the gig. After what went down, nobody feels in the mood for any kind of party. We need to call the booker, Vladd Daskland. Tell him what happened.

I say to the door guy, call Vladd. Tell him bands canceled the show because Jordan got his fingers cut off.

My phone dings at that very minute. I look, it says,

Buyers want to counter at 332.

-Clint Curtis


I’m behind the bar, there’s a group of three in front of me, and the girl in the middle, IS TALKING REALLY LOUDLY. I don’t think it’s because she thinks her friends are hard of hearing. I don’t think she’s deaf, and can’t control the volume of her voice. 

I think she just wants THE ENTIRE BAR TO HEAR HER STORY. 

But that’s not the annoying part. I mean, that happens all the time, right?  One guy gets up on stage, tells a bunch of people a story. So telling a story to a large group of people isn’t annoying. It’s the ACTING LIKE YOU’RE JUST TELLING A STORY JUST FOR YOUR FRIENDS TO HEAR when obviously YOU WANT THE ENTIRE BAR TO HEAR YOUR ANNOYING STORY. 

I mean, cool, say to the room, EXCUSE ME CAN I HAVE YOUR ATTENTION PLEASE?!?!  Then you tell the story. That’s fine, that’s good. That’s HONEST. It’s the deception that’s annoying. As if WE DIDN’T KNOW you wanted us to be eavesdropping. 

Get. Out of here with that. 

It’s like Facebook. IT’S EXACTLY LIKE FACEBOOK. Oh I’m going to say something to my friend, I’m just going to put it RIGHT HERE on her wall. Just a little private message for her to see (and all of her other 10,000 friends). And I’m going to ACT LIKE she’s the only one I’m telling the story to, but actually


Isn’t it funny?

-Clint Curtis

Help Someone Out

About a month ago, I’m chatting with a customer, I find out she’s an actor. She seems cool, has a good look, and a positive vibe. I say, are you with the Peak Agency? Peak is a modeling/acting agency in Des Moines. I’ve been with them for a good four years now, my agent’s name is Steve Meyers. 

She says, no. I actually did contact them awhile back, but they told me they already have people that have my look. I tell her, let me email my agent, put in the good word for you, he’ll set up an interview with you, you’ll go in, and kill it. She says, that would be awesome!  I email my agent, recommend her, he gets in contact with her, they meet up, and he signs her. Boom!  Really happy for her. And she was SO appreciative of it. When I get the opportunity, I love to help someone out. It feels good to help somebody along their way in this world. I wouldn’t be where I am today if it weren’t for other people’s kindnesses. 

And other great things happen when you help someone…

She tells me, I want to do something to repay you!  I say, that’s not necessary. I’m just happy I can be of some help. She says, I’m going to do something for you. I say, no need. 

I’m bartending last night, she comes up to the bar, sits down, says, what?  You don’t want to sell a house?  I say, wha?

I’m a realtor by day…bartender by night. 

She says, my husband emailed you. We want to go look at a house!  I say, WHAT?!?!  I never got an email from him!!!  She says, hang on a sec. She gets out her phone, starts looking for the email. She says, is your email address

I say, NO!  It’s 

(Notice how I just slyly put my email in right there, so when you’re ready, dear readers, you’ll email me when you’re ready to buy a house).

I say, what did the email say?  She says, we’re ready to buy a house. We know which one we want to look at. We’re already pre-approved, and if we like it, we’re ready to make an offer. 

Well HOT DAMN!!!

I say, I’ll email your husband back, I’ll contact the listing agent tomorrow, set up a time we can go look at the house!  She says, that sounds great!

Not to sound contrived, or manipulative, but THAT’S WHAT I’M TALKING ABOUT. You help someone out, guess what?  When the opportunity arises, THEY WILL HELP YOU OUT. It’s as old as the day is long. So here’s my advice for you, and the moral of the story. If you want to get ahead in this life, and be successful?  HELP SOMEONE OUT. It has so many benefits. You’ll feel good when you do it, and it makes them happy. It feels good to be needed and helpful. AND you never know. You send an email for someone, take one minute out of your day,

You might sell a house because of it. 

-Clint Curtis


Smoking Is Now Good For Your Health

I’m at the mall, at the mall Starbucks, drinking a Decaf Americano, and people watching through the glass. I’m enjoying myself, I don’t care what you say about “Corporate Coffee”, it’s strong (oxymoron, I know for Decaf), the atmosphere is good, and hot chicks come in. That’s always a pleasure to see. Ok, I’m married, but I can still appreciate the beauty of woman. Big, small, tall, young, old, there’s always something. 

A guy I know walks in. He’s a customer at a bar I work at. My first instinct is to duck my head, turn away. He’s a really nice guy, but I don’t really feel like having a conversation. It’s my day off, ok?  I talk for a living, when I actually have an afternoon off, I want to be peaceful, and not have to “be on.”  I just want to sit back as I am now, enjoy my coffee, and enjoy the sound the espresso maker makes when heating the milk. 

He comes over. Clint!  How are you?  We talk, about nothing really. His girlfriend moved back from Brazil, we make the connection that she lives in the same area as I do. We chat about that for a bit, his coffee is ready, he says his good-bye, I say my good-bye, he exits. 

I go back to people watching. Aren’t they fascinating? Filling time walking around this place buying things they don’t need. Maybe that’s the entire meaning of life, but a bit pessimistic. Let’s get dressed up in cool clothes, go to the mall, walk around, look at things, buy things, we really don’t need. Or probably, particularly want. As human beings, we’ve been doing that for centuries and centuries. Walking around the market, buying exotic wares from faraway lands. 

That can’t be it, can it?  How do we become significant? I mean in 200 years, no one’s going to give a care about our lives, are they?  We’re just going to be another tombstone to walk by. As insignificant as, that’s a funny name. Or, I wonder who that sucker was?

People now are enmeshed with their technology, and whatever, so what, I’ve resigned myself to it. I’m just as addicted to my phone as the next person. I wake up, check my phone, see who texted me, who emailed me, who asked to be my friend on Facebook. 

It’s 3pm, it’s time for me to leave this place, go to another place, to pick up my boys at school, they were there, learning stuff, interacting with their peers, so that someday, they can walk around the mall, with their cell phone in hand, and look at things they don’t need, and buy things they don’t need, and then go pick up their kids at school,

At 3pm. 

I go outside, walk to my car, on my way, an older woman lights up a smoke. I say to her, have you heard smoking is now good for your health?  She smiles, says yes,

But she says it because it was the first thing that came to her mind. 

Not because she heard the news. 

Because there was no news. 

I was just trying to be funny. 

-Clint Curtis

Get Rejected Four Times A Day

I have been acting pretty much my entire life. The first play I did, I was Tom Sawyer in The Adventures of Tom Sawyer at the Iowa City Community Theater when I was nine years old. Since then, until now, over thirty years have passed, I have put myself out there, day in and day out, and I’ve been rejected 18,362 times. I try to keep count.

I know rejection. She’s my best friend. I embrace rejection, it’s comforting, it feels good. It makes me stronger and stronger incrementally, every day, rejection upon rejection, it stacks up, layers upon layers, until it reaches to the cosmos. Because I’ve had so much rejection, I don’t fear it. I LAUGH AT IT. Oh you’re going to say no to me?  Great. Thank you for another no. You have probably helped me more than saying yes.

And it is yes that I’m more uncomfortable with. Hell, I’ve got the rejection part down cold. But acceptance?  Yes, Clint, you got it!  Wha?  Um…ok. But that was too easy!  You’re supposed to say no to me, damn it!

Here’s a bit of advice for you, if you want to grow as a person. If you’re HERE and you want to get THERE. The only way you’re going to get THERE is to start attempting to. You can’t get there until you start trying to get there. You have to start asking for things. Looking for opportunities. Making opportunities out of NOTHING. And when the smallest opportunity comes your way, you have to SEIZE IT.

This is what I’ve been doing lately. I wake up, and say, I’m going to get rejected today at least four times. Let me clarify. When the moment arises in my day when I think, I’d like to do that, or I’d like to say that, or I want that, but if I ask, I’ll probably not get it, WHAM!!!  There’s an opportunity for rejection I can mark down for the day. Now I have three more.

And if you think in this way, in this non-conventional way, I guarantee, it will help you get from HERE to WHERE YOU WANT TO BE. It’s not a revolutionary idea, but it’s a change in perception. You don’t look for opportunities per se. You look for opportunities for rejection. I think if you wait around for opportunities, there’s a good chance they’ll never come. So you train your mind to almost APPRECIATE rejection, to see it as an accomplishment, YOU WILL NEVER LOSE IN LIFE. They will say no in their own special way, and you will smile, and feel a sense of accomplishment, and then your acceptance of the rejection will be PRICELESS, and they won’t know what the hell happened. I just told this guy no, and he’s thanking me?!?!  And he’s being cool?!?!  What the hell? Maybe I made a mistake?  Maybe I should’ve told him


Tommorow morning wake up, and say, I want to be rejected four times today, then be very aware when the moment arises in the day to accomplish that goal. And it doesn’t have to be a big thing. It can be the smallest of things.

And in time, it will be more and more difficult for you to find opportunities for rejection. Because people will be saying YES instead of NO. And you will be THERE instead of HERE.

And then you’ll have to figure out how to deal with getting what you want.

-Clint Curtis

I Think I Left My Card Here

Front door opens, end of the night, guy/girl comes in, walks up to the bar. Girl says, I think I left my card here earlier. I look where the cards go. I don’t even need to get her name. None there. I say, nope. Sorry. None here. She says, are you sure you don’t have it?  I think for a second, then say,

You came in around 10. Sat over there end of the bar. You were with four other friends. You ordered a Sunny Side Up, and your guy friend ordered a Vanilla Cafe. I remember he asked, what’s the coffee one?  And I said, I think you’re talking about the Vanilla Cafe. I made them, gave them to you, he goes to pay, then you say, no, I got it. You hand me a card. I say, you want me to run it, or keep it open?  You said, run it. I run it, put it down in front of you. I walk away for a bit, then come back where you are, and I notice your guy friend is signing it for you. I go back to doing what I do, about a half hour later, he ordered another Vanilla Cafe, and you said you were good. He paid cash for that one, gave me a 10 dollar bill, and generously gave me a three dollar tip. 

The girl turns to the guy, says, do you have it?  He gets out his wallet, walks away from the bar, I go help another customer. About a minute later, I hear the couple laughing. I call out, YOU GOOD?  The guy gives me a thumbs-up, has a smile on his face that says, I’m the dumbass. 

You know what that was, my friends?  That’s three YEARS of writing bar stories, remembering small little details, and good, clean sober bartending. 


Life is good. 

-Clint Curtis

I Am Holding A Redbox DVD In My Hand

It’s 8:50pm, I’m driving to work, I’ve got a Redbox DVD in my hand. Not a Blue Ray, I’m not that fancy. It’s a DVD.

I like Redbox. I know, I know, get it on the Internet, it’s 2015. Well…I just like going to pick them up. They’re cheap as hell. Like a buck 75. In comparison to four-five bucks on the internets. And what if the Internet is out, you’re screwed!  I’ve got Mediacom, and it goes down all the time. Get a DVD, no worries. Ok, its got a scratch, don’t play, that’s annoying. But you get the new releases, no worries.

But ALL THAT has nothing to do with my story.

I’m driving to work with a Redbox DVD in my hand. It’s Southpaw. Decent movie. Not what you call great. I got it on Monday, oops, it’s Thursday. Yeah. Shoots the whole, save money on a movie, don’t it?  And my wife, I put it on the counter to take it back, and she shoves it in my drawer so I can’t see it!  My drawer IS A MESS who the hell knows what’s in there? I try to clean it out every three months, but at the present moment,

It’s a disast.

So you put something in there, three months later, huh. That’s where that went. I’ve told my wife, please don’t put my Redbox in there!  But she doesn’t listen. Who does, ya know?

Who. Really. Does.

Anyway, all that, ALL THAT, has little to do with my story.

Picture this guy driving his car, he’s got his left hand on the steering wheel, and his right hand is held up, in his face, holding a Redbox DVD. Why is he holding a Redbox DVD?


Ya put the dang Redbox on your passenger seat, what happens?  Well, if you’re me, you drive RIGHT BY that Redbox machine outside the grocery store, you get to work, look down, yep, there’s the damn Redbox DVD. AND THERE’S ANOTHER BUCK 75 DOWN THE DRAIN. ‘Cause I’m downtown, I’m at work. I can’t get to the Redbox machine until 3AM,

So I’m screwed.

So THIS TIME I’m gonna HOLD THE DAMN DVD IN MY FACE. I can’t possibly forget it, can I? There’s no way. NO WAY. I focus. I do a mantra. Return the DVD. Return the DVD. Return the DVD. I’m only a mile away. I’m almost there. I’m…

Wait a second. Did I turn in that contract at work?  Ok, I know I turned in the check, I know I turned in the listing contract, I was really thorough about that. But did I turn in the purchase agreement?  Dang it, this is going to bug me all night. I’ve been juggling real estate, bar manager stuff, bartending, family time, my brain is going here and here and here. Oh, here’s the exit, I’ll just take, what am I holding in my…


-Clint Curtis

I Walk Into The Sex Shop

I’m driving to Cedar Rapids, Iowa for a dental appointment. If you’re not from Iowa, it’s a little over two hours from Des Moines. My Uncle George is there, I love multi-tasking. Seeing him, get mah teeth cleaned. 

I’m about half-way there. I’m on a new kick, and it’s terrible. About once a week, I’m getting one of those healthy cups of French Vanilla coffee from Casey’s. Disgustingly good. I’m drinking it, I look down, damn it!  I just spilled on my new work shirt!  I freak out. I search the car frantically. There’s gotta be a bar towel, a paper towel, something to wipe it off. I search, nope. Nothing. And I don’t have any water to wash it. I think fast. I spit on my finger, grab my jacket, rub it in my shirt, wipe it with the inside of my jacket. Brilliant idea, right? No, not really. I finish, nope. Still there. I have to take action. All-right. Next gas station, rest area, I’m going in. 

About a mile later, I see a sign advertising a restaurant on it. Phew. I’ll run in there. I take the exit. Gosh darn it. 8 miles to the right!!!  There is NO WAY. I’m already late as it is. I look to my left, there is something. A business I have passed by a thousand times to and from Cedar Rapids. 


If you want to know something about me, I’m a bit of a prude. I’ve been in a sex shop once, years ago. If I go in, WHAT WILL THEY THINK OF ME?!?!  They will judge. Oh who’s this guy?  Can you imagine the kinds of people that go in there?  Sex addicts, perverts. Greasy old guys with old clothes, and nicotine-stained teeth. 

I pull in the driveway. There’s around six vehicles. Couple trucks. Ok, what’s the game plan?  Do I wear sunglasses, go incognito?  Or would that be too much? I’m dressed nice from doing real estate earlier, I’m going to hold off on the glasses. Play it casual. 

I walk in. Huh. 

First thing I notice is it’s bright. Organized shelves. Outfits here. DVD section here. Magazines on the far wall. Sex toys hanging in front of me. Weirdly, Bruce Springsteen’s Born In The USA is cranking on the stereo. I look around more. There’s women!  Couples casually looking at the offered wares. They look like upstanding people too!  The place is UPBEAT. I’m floored here. This place is the opposite of seedy. I might as well be in a store at the mall. 

I go up to the counter, there’s a guy there, he seems normal. I say, could I use your bathroom, please?  He says, sure, here’s the key. He hands me the key. It’s on what seems to be a coat hanger. Must’ve been a last minute decision. We probably shouldn’t just have the key. Let’s put a hanger on it. 

I walk to the bathroom, open it up, look in…  It’s immaculate!  What in the holy hell, this place is blowing my mind. I go to the sink, turn on the water, grab a towel, get it wet, wipe the stain vigorously. After a minute, I give it a rest. I may have got it. I mean, now there’s a big water stain on my shirt. Whatever. It’ll probably dry off by the time I get to my dentist appointment. I take a leak while I’m there. I wash the hands, exit, go to the counter, return the key. I take a pause. Do I get something while I’m here, just to say I did?  I look around. What would I get?  Something catches my eye…

Next part of story cut. 

I hop in my car, get back on the highway. I arrive at the office at EXACTLY 4pm. Perfect timing for my appointment. 

I love it when that happens. 

-Clint Curtis