I am long over due to write a blog and drop it here on the website. It's a strange thing, a blog. I think of something to write and I think it's so important that I put it on my website so that when you visit, you get to read something I found precious enough to post. It's pretty gross really. I'll let this blog be more of a simple, "Hi." than anything else. Hi. How are you? I am very glad that you are visiting my website. There are live dates and podcast links and lots of t-shirts for you to buy.
The other reason I am reluctant to dive head first into the "blog" game is that if you write something that you are really proud of, (my blog on mental health in athletics) you --- I--- get a red ass if it doesn't get picked up by another source. I thought the mental health blog was worthy of a Huffington Post pick up... I really loved it and stand by it's merit. Having said all of that, I fully realize how fucking huge my ego must be that I am merely writing blogs hoping that URL's larger than mine will notice them and reprint them. Sad really. But, thats why I am in show business. HUGE EGO. Full blown egomaniac. I have admitted that on my podcast many times.
There is an occasional discussion in my house with my wife and I as to wether or not I am a comic or an actor. I am sure.. positive.. in my bones that I was born a comic. My wife on the other hand thinks that I was born an actor and I figured out how to do stand up comedy as a route to acting. We are both standing firm in our theories.
I know from the pace my mind works and the ADHD vomiting of words and comebacks and callbacks that I am and was born a comic. My wife says I can't be a comic because I don't have that hole inside of me that virtually all comics have. I am not depressed. I wake up happy. I feel lucky. As Henry Rollins once wrote, "My optimism wears boots and they're loud."
This happiness may also be why so many comics have something bad to say about me. I go out of my way to be kind to everyone I meet. I created a television show to help other comics... (obviously it was never my intention to create a show for free but the format of the show remains true...) I never really leave my house so I'm not sure why comics are so quick to throw shade my way. I learn of these shot talkers through great friends of mine that I won't name here because I don't want them to get any shit. If you are a loyal listener of the Mohr Stories Podcast you know who they are. Maybe comics are quick to criticize me because I am, as my wife believes, an interloper. An actor. I don't know. I have had to stop listening to a lot of other podcasts because I kept hearing of other comics that "had a problem" with me.. Frankly I am not sure why or how I even come up in anyone's conversation.
All I can say and I guess us this blog entry is to tell all other comics out there that you got the wrong guy. I work very hard. I fly too much. I sleep too little. I don't steal (an accusation made very popular from a particular podcast) in fact, if anyone thinks that I am a thief or that I steal bits or stories, I would advise you to speak at great length to my wife since she writes more than half of my stand up act... (I am just now realizing that maybe I am an actor since Nikki Cox wrote my entire last Showtime special and I had to act it out). Regardless. I have taken great pride over the past three years of the Mohr Stories Podcast to not allow any shit talking of any other comics. Ever.
Any comics that would like to continue shit talking me, I implore you to simply text me or call me. If you do not have my number to do either, you must not know me . In which case, Im further confused as to why you are talking about me at all. I would encourage you and hope that maybe you can get my number from someone else and in a perfect world we can simply say Hi.
In the mean time how do we get the Huffington Post to pick up my story on Mental Health in Athletics?
Whenever I am having a question and answer session on twitter, one of the most frequently asked question is always, "Are you and Rome still boys?" Was there a fall out between you and Rome?" "Why don't you get Jim Rome on your podcast" and inevitable, "Is it uncomfortable between you and Jim now?"
I have never responded to these questions because, being twitter and @jimrome being listed in the tweet itself, I didn't feel it was proper to speak on our relationship publicly where (it is the internet mind you) someone could leave a comment like "Fuck that guy!" or "You fucking suck! Jim rules!" "Clones!" "Mohrriors!"
I first met Jim Rome on an airplane to (if my memory is correct) the All Star game at Coors field in Denver. I recognized him from his ESPN2 show and had been a very, very loyal listener since I had moved to Southern California. I walked over to Jim and introduced myself and he said hello back. This was after Jerry Maguire had gotten me some heat so i'm pretty sure that's why he had any idea who I was at all. We sat together for well over an hour chatting and laughing and it was all very natural. What I noticed most about Jim during that flight was while everyone else was napping or sipping red wine he drank about four cups of coffee and with the exception of the time I took up talking to him the dude was WORKING. Files and files of papers, big envelopes, and notebooks. Jim Rome was very obviously a guy that took no short cuts.
On the airplane Jim said, "You should come by radio row tomorrow and do some time on air." Uh, hell yeah I should. This was going to be awesome. I was pretty freaking pumped to be on his show. The appearance went great and after a few more appearances, (call in's and in studio in Los Angeles, I was asked to guest host, THE JUNGLE...
One of my first takes I had when I guest hosted Jim Rome's show was making fun of Sugar Ray Leonard for doing infomercials for a plastic, life sized, man shaped target called , "The Slam Man" who's eyes lit up when you punched it correctly. I was very bothered (not really) by a six time world champion doing infomercials. That is where my nick name on Jim's show "slam man" came from.
I am now on in the same time slot as Jim. We are in direct competition nationwide for the same beloved male 18-45 demographic, however I would be a complete asshole and a phony if I didn't state the absolute truth. I owe a lot to Jim Rome and I will never in this lifetime be able to repay him. Those appearances and call in's to THE JUNGLE brought my stand up act a brand new fan base of absolute die hard maniacs. "The clones" as he calls them, would come out to see me do stand up comedy in droves. I have said on my podcast and many times to anyone that would ask, The Jim Rome Show sold as many tickets to my stand up comedy shows as my entire IMDB page combined. That's just the truth. 50% of the audience would be at the theater because of every tv show and movie I ever made, the other 50% were there because they heard me on The Jim Rome Show.
I am very grateful to Jim. I was very opportunistic during this time as whenever Jim would do what he called, "A Tour Stop" (doing his radio show from a certain city affiliate) I would book my stand up theater concerts the same time frame and really just tag along. Jim never objected and it was always incredibly fun and very profitable for me. I'm assuming Jim had the cache of having me at his tour stop, but I definitely reaped the bigger reward because I wouldn't have been playing to a sold out theater in that city without riding his coat tails into that city...
When Jim had a tour stop in Kansas City, I sold out The Follies Theater. When Jim had a tour stop in Buffalo, I was able to perform in front of 17,000 Jim/Jay fans at Buffalo Bisons Stadium. It was incredible. The fans were nuts and passionate and whenever I return to those cities they keep coming back.
The internet is a foul place filled with negative energy and nothing makes any one in cyberspace more happy then when they can hear some good shit talk. In regards to Jim Rome and myself, there simply is none.
Jim took a chance on me guest hosting his show (in those days I wasn't exactly known for being very corporate or playing by the rules).
I don't think people realize how ab-so-fucking-HUGE Jim Rome was in radio back in the day. He changed sports talk radio for ever. When I was listening to him as a teenager I would do the same thing I used to do with Howard Stern and simply not get out of my car. It was always funny all the time. The callers were funny, the emailers were funny and ( remember this was like 1989) the faxes were funny.
Sure he had his critics but to them I would always state, "If he sucks, then why does EVERY athlete line up to talk to him?"
I didn't realize it at the time but I learned a lot from Jim's show. Most importantly and especially, your listeners can provide you with content! What a concept. Jim's listeners would call for the sole purpose to be funnier than the caller prior. Now that I have my own radio show, I cannot even begin to describe how much this can propel a show forward on slow days.
"Is there beef between you and Jim?" I have nothing but respect and gratitude for the guy but I can see how it can be perceived that way. When Jim went to CBS Radio and left Clear Channel, Clear Channel had me fill in the last week of Jim's contract. It was a little awkward but someone had to do it so why not let the new guy get comfortable in the chair. Things that I know people perceive as me taking shots at Jim: When I first started my show on January 2nd 2013, I told the listeners that the days of "Less of you and more of me" were dead. The quote was something I'm would say to listeners whenever they would get out of line and he would go full days (or two) with out taking a single phone call)... That was his business and it was all cool with me but now I had MY show and I needed to express to the listeners that I NEEDED THEM. I couldn't possibly launch a show by not taking calls or emails. I was brand new. I was learning on the fly. Whenever you take a call you can engage in a conversation after that call and it was something I needed. Jim, at his level of broadcasting didn't ever need callers. Ever. I did. I am stating here for the absolute record that me saying that the "Less of you, more of me" days were over was not a shot at Jim. It was me basically asking for help without having to say the words, "I need your help, please call and be involved in my show".
Whenever I do an impression of Jim on jay Mohr Sports, people (again, the internet loves the smell of shit) quickly assume that I am mocking him. False. It's an impression. When I do Christopher Walken I doubt people reach out to him and say, "Jay Mohr was taking shots at you this morning." I am an impressionist. I can do an impression of Jim. Period.
There was never a falling out between Jim and I. In all honesty we probably hadn't spoken on the phone for about two years before I took over his time slot. We did exchange emails and I can assure you that ALL of those emails were me apologizing to Jim for crossing the line while guest hosting. Several times I would say something on air while guest hosting that was way over the line and corporate would come down on Jim. I can remember a long bit I did during Ronald Reagan's funeral about the Secret Service making Nancy Reagan walk too much for such an old woman during the proceedings. Sounds innocuous enough here on this blog but trust me it went way over the line and I would never, ever, EVER even dream about saying it these days on my show. I can remember Jim taking heat from the suits after I said that Maria Sharipova's boyfriend should wear her like a hat. Again, way, way, way over the line.
After all of these instances, Jim stuck with me. We never really spoke much at all so in regards to having a "falling out" there was really never much to fall out from..
"When will Jim be on the Mohr Stories Podcast". The answer to that one is simple. Whenever the hell he wants. As I said earlier about Jim putting in work on that airplane ride to Denver, he works probably three times as hard now that he has his cable tv show.
I am writing this blog because I wasn't sure how to put to bed and to rest the questions (all very fair questions) you guys have had for me regarding Jim.
It does need to be noted that I did not take Jim's job. Jim left to go to another company and if I didn't take the gig, you would be listening to someone for three hours every day.
I am forever grateful to JIm for letting me host his show again and again. I am forever grateful to Jim for unleashing the clones on me. As I said (wow, I am actually about to quote myself -- Yikes!) in Jerry Maguire, "It's not show friends, it's show business. Now that him and I are competitors, (and I mean direct competitors- same time slot in the same cities) I wish for my show to curb stomp his show whenever the ratings books come out. I would expect him to feel the same way.
No hard feelings on this end whatsoever. Eternally grateful. If he hadn't given me the shot I absolutely would not have a radio career now. All love Romey. jj #
A few months ago, Gilbert Godfried wrote a brilliant article for Playboy about how women claim they want a man with a sense of humor, but in reality they don't. This is my wife's response.
TO: LETTER TO GILBERT GOTTFRIED c/o PLAYBOY EDITOR
FROM: NIKKI COX:
Dear Gilbert, I have had the good fortune of being your acquaintance for almost two decades now, and I consider myself the better for it.
I hope you are well and good; that your days are filled with more things that make you happy then things that make you want to be sick out of your mouth. My wish for you? In the pool of happiness some asshole nicknamed, “Life”, you spend most of your time in the comfortable luke-warm middle. The shallow end is where the cowards hang out, waiting for the sky to fall- pissing, as they sit upon the pool steps, so as to feel a fleeting moment of (urea based) warmth. The deep end seems to be overflowing with pie-eyed, Ed Hardy sporting ass hats; what with their preternaturally orange skin, and their over sized tribal tattoos, once black, now faded to some shade between grey and beige that I can only call, “Other.” Side note- these people can usually tell you everything every thing you need to know about TEEN MOM 2- not to mention how Snookie got her “post-baby bod.” And knowing you, you probably have a MILLION questions about Snookie and her “Super healthy new life.”
I’m sorry to disturb you but I am writing in response to an article you wrote in PLAYBOY recently. It was incredibly funny. And YES-I DID buy it for the articles. If I wanted to see a sad, Cleveland- pretty five flop around in her altogether-I would simply drop the laundry in front of (awkwardly placed, highly filtered) mirrors.
I know it’s not sexy to say, as most broads of my generation are expected to tow the party line- “I just think the female figure is so sensual.” Or, “You are so fucking hot. Let’s make out! (for free drinks). Or pretend “The threesome was totally MY idea. Watching you fuck some hipster girl with ironic tattoos and a suspiciously infected looking nipple ring, I am only sobbing in the corner because it’s such an unbelievable turn on.”
I’m fine with lady bodies- but the only one I really give a shit about is my own. I have zero problems being naked, I think it’s funny and it freaks people out and the discomfort it causes others will never NOT be hilarious to me. Maybe if I had anything remarkable to show, I would feel differently. As it stands, I got nuttin’ special, so who gives a rat’s ass? Which brings me back to your article. I loved it. It was hugely smart and funny and TRUE. I have long thought that when women/men claim their number one most desired trait in a potential mate is a sense of humor, what they REALLY mean is “I want my partner to laugh at all my pathetic attempts at being funny.” They want a raucous audience where the bar that constitutes a joke is set so low as to be nearly invisible. Essentially, they want to date the studio audience from Married With Children. (I miss sit coms. It was so much easier when the laugh track told me a joke had happened.
I feel however, that your article needs an addendum. Something like, “Please excuse Nikki Cox from this piece as it is in no way applicable to me.”
Whenever I have fallen in love- really, just basket case, head over heels, how can anyone be an Atheist kind of love- it has always been with men who paid their bills by making people laugh. My first big love? Genuinely one of the funniest humans I’ve ever known. And the ONE, the love of my life, my husband makes me laugh harder than I ever thought possible.
In between these two loves, I was set to marry a fella I thought was the one. Thank fuck he dumped me or I wouldn’t have met the REAL one true love of my life, my husband. Even that guy, the stand in for my husband in one grotesquely long dress rehearsal, made me laugh loud and well and often. We were decades apart and some folks took umbrage with his appearance. I always felt very strongly, “Fuck ‘em’” I thought he looked swell and I’ll be damned if we didn’t spend years laughing together.
I guess I’m a rarity, but during my few periods of singlehood, nobody would be allowed NEAR, let alone INSIDE my “personality” if the suitor didn’t make me laugh first. All the mad crushes I’ve had throughout the years have always had just that one thing in common. They made me laugh. I guess it’s like being a size queen but instead of sporting a monster cock, they had to sport a monster sense of humor. (It just occurred to me though that tiny cocks are pretty hilarious, but that’s not my bag. Average and up, please).
I’m sure I was a disturbing child to raise. The usual “heart throbs” sickened me. With their bangs and their guitars. Boys my own age, well, they just made me sad in their feeble attempts at tomfoolery. At 3 year’s old I confessed to my mother that I was in love with Steve Martin and that I needed to marry him. At 5, I developed an unhealthy crush on John Ritter, which incidentally is why I decided to enter this business called show. Jack Tripper was always headed off to meet a “little red head” at the Regal Beagle. Naturally, I did the math. “Okay, I know I’m only five but not forever. I’m a “little red head” Jack Tripper, wait up, I’m on my way. At eleven, doing acting scenes with Jonathan Winters I was thinking, “O.K., in seven years we can get married. I hope he’s cool with having babies ASAP.”
As a grown up, doing scenes with Norm MacDonald, my hands would start shaking and nervous sweat would be running down my back. My crush on Norm was so big I’m still surprised it all fit into a soundstage. Two days ago, returning from a road trip I was listening to some classic George Carlin (Is there any other kind?). As I listened I thought, “Sweet shit! Were I not married I would have accosted him and forced him to fuck me. On second thought, that’s kind of creepy. He’s been gone a while now although I suppose it would remove the “force” part out of the equation.
Returning to the living, I would have paid good money to jump the bones of one Zach Galifianakis. And I’m talking PRE Hangover, millionaire, fanny pack wearing, Zeitgeist for a new kind of comedy Zach Galifianakis. Even when VH1handed him a room full of human shit and dog carcasses and said, “Here’s your show!” I’d geek out in front of the television set, staring in silence, hoping he would turn to the camera, look down the barrel and ask me to go home with him.
In closing Gilbert, you are correct. The majority of women say what they want most in a man is a sense of humor. By and large, as you surmised, that is a big fat fib. One might ask, “Why are they lying? The answer is because they are women. And most women are lying sacks of shit. Not me. Funny men are my only aphrodisiac; the only thing that REALLY turns me on. Chocolate makes me sick. Roses are macabre and morbid and bad poetry makes want to cry. Oysters? I don’t think I really have to say a word on oysters.
I’m an old chunk of coal. Happily married and of no allure to anyone at the dance. I shall stay with the one who brought me. But if anyone ever wanted me, I was as easy as it got. Like shooting slutty fish in a slutty barrel. If you made me laugh you got the key. Maybe not the key to my heart but definitely the key to my pants. Quickly and without any of the aggravating shit that most women want. Like talking.
Thanks for taking the time to read my inanity. You have always made me laugh. Were I single, and you found me appealing, had you asked, “Wanna go out?” I would have said without hesitation, “Absolutely. But do we have to waste our time going out?”
With much love. Nikki Cox.
Guest blog by Nik!
WHEN DID WE ALL GET SO MEAN?
As a culture we have become incredibly mean and snarky. We’ve become cruel and malicious and we keep trying to pass it off as a big joke.
People on Twitter and bloggers say something they think is super cutting, biting and hilarious but really it’s just mean and shitty. Nobody is laughing because if you’re truly doing your “A” material from your cell phone while taking a dump it’s not “A” material at all. The stuff you think is funny is usually tried out in your living room. You know, where most regular people say things in front of others. By “others” I mean friends and/or family. If you were truly brave you might want to try your snarky blog entries and tweets at an open mic night in front of strangers. Now that’s scary. Imagine how all the tweeters and bloggers would eviscerate YOU and all your super funny concepts. The snarky, mean tweet/blog doesn’t really resonate because you are all alone while writing it. Nobody hears your pithy insights because no one can stand to be in a room with you. Hence the “toilet tweet.” (Hopefully you’re alone, unless that’s your thing. If that’s the case then go with God.).
Now it’s expanded to commercials. We’ve all become so fucking nasty. It used to be that whispering voice telling you, “We’ve replaced all the real coffee with Sanka.” Or Postum or whatever the hell it was. The hidden cameras caught the looks of surprise and little giggles when the costumers were told that it’s not coffee they’re drinking but a delicious and down right preferable replacement.
Today they act like parking lot hijackers and bind ‘em and blindfold them like hostages and shove the consumer into an unmarked van that has been filled with fish bones (not the band, that would be awesome) but actual fucking fish bones and hot garbage and a sack of farts and a few festering errant eyeballs rolling around. The voice over guy say’s, “Hey scared weirdos, whos day we just ruined, what do you smell?” The blindfolded hostages say, “A field of wild flowers and ocean breezes!” Which makes the situation even more absurd because you can tell just by looking at these Kmart shoppers that they have never been further west than Baker where they went just to see the world’s largest thermometer. These people have no concept what a field of flowers or ocean breezes smell like.
It’s evolved even farther. These giant companies tell couples they are going on a romantic, weekend getaway. Moments before the kind folks arrive they fill the cabin with rotting liverwurst and human carcasses and lunchmeats. Which by the way, freshly opened lunch meat is one of life’s most unbelievably foul smells. Who knows why but we still forge ahead and slap it on a giant gluttonous hoagie and eat it as fast as we can. We totally put out of our minds that the very meat we are eating had us retching only moments prior. I suppose you could liken it to how we make ourselves forget the pain of childbirth so the human species doesn’t become extinct- which occasionally, these days, I think might not be such a bad a bad idea.
But I digress.
After a weekend together, the couple in bliss, because they can’t get enough of the aromas of lemon verbena and pine, are shown by the creepy company, “Ha Ha Ha! Under the bed, under the couch, EVERYWHERE you’ve been, we’ve hidden excrement and vomit and a couple buckets of lye. Not lye because it has any particular scent but because we thought it would be a laugh if one of you accidentally knocked one over and had to be rushed to the E.R.
But that didn’t happen so SURPRISE! You’ve been sleeping and fucking in a human garbage dump! Now, What air freshener are you going to choose?”
Sadly, all these confused people act like they’re so amazed and they will never be able to live another day with out the gift of the plug in air freshener. Obviously these Febreze people are ruthless and have no compunction when it comes to kidnapping or larceny or perjury or murder.
I’m not saying the plug in air freshener companies are murderers but let’s be honest. That human corpse in the cabin had to come from somewhere and it wasn’t from my trash bin.
As for these stupid commercials (although I know commercials are certainly fresh fodder for jokes) well, I’m just clawing at a metaphor for the tree of cruel, which grows. It’s not very smart and it’s about a million miles from where original lives. But shit, as tweeters and bloggers know, it’s always easy to pick the low hanging fruit. In addition, I ain’t so bright. However, I am fully aware, as I peck this keyboard arduously, and with one finger at a time (I would be a horrible, horrible, horrible court stenographer) that I am no better. I am using one of my husband’s computers, as I am the proud owner of none, to be critical and unkind. I am not recusing myself from the unwanted ugly opinions of which I speak. With each word, I am sealing my own fate as guilty. I am only doing this because I am married to a man that loves me and finds me clever, because, well, he loves me, and he wished for this to appear on his blog. I am no better. COUNTER – criticism is truly just criticism wearing a fucking hat. So, dear reader (I’ve always wanted to write that, huge Nabakov fan) I suppose this is just a request. A plea if you will- to me, or to anyone who deems worthy my brain droppings (always wanted to use that too. Huge Carlin fan). Maybe, just maybe, we could all try and be a little nicer.
P.S. If you dislike this and feel compelled to respond negatively, please know that I was born with less than one ounce of self esteem to begin with (Why the hell else would someone choose to become a child actor in the first place?) If you do respond negatively well, then, we have something in common. We both hate me.
That said- as an old kind man intoned to me as a teenager : What people say about me behind my back is none of my business.
FINI (I always wanted to use that also. Giant opera fan.)
Mental health in athletics..
My name is Jay Mohr and I host a nationally syndicated sports talk radio show entitled, “Jay Mohr Sports” on Fox Sports radio. I am also a comic, an actor, a father and a husband. I also suffer from panic disorder and am a recovering alcoholic. After scanning the radio dial on my week off with my family, I noticed far too often that some athletes with mental health issues have been the topic of fodder and sometimes derision for some radio hosts. It has to stop. I am by no means a whistle blower. I am simply a man that has a microphone in front of me everyday and I have also suffered from some of the afflictions that have been hidden by many athletes for years. Why wouldn’t they hide them? I hid my panic disorder for as long as I felt like I could live with it (it wasn’t long). I tried to “ride out” my brain telling me to run out of restaurants or to start fist fighting strangers whenever my fight or flight mechanism kicked in at indescribable, irrational, life saving levels. I cannot for the life of me imagine suffering what I suffered while standing on a pitcher’s mound in front of forty thousand people. I cannot begin to fathom what it would be like to have a panic attack while standing in a huddle. I was lucky. I was a civilian.
These athletes we celebrate are certainly not like us. They possess an extraordinary amount of skills that only the upper one percent of the upper one percent of humanity will ever accomplish. However, while afflicted, athletes are very, very common. For far too long mental health has been low hanging fruit for a punch line. Herschel Walker with multiple personality disorder, Zack Grienke with Social Anxiety Disorder. Brandon Marshall with Borderline Personality Disorder. Lawrence Taylor and hundreds and hundreds of others with their addictions to alcohol, crack, pain killers and whatever they could get their hands on. These men are not to be mocked (nor pitied). These men should not have a question mark next to their scouting folders. These men are to be COMMENDED for coming forward, being brave, and simply telling a doctor, “I need help.” That’s the rub with mental health and addiction (if I am able to put addiction under the umbrella of mental illness.), your brain keeps telling you to “deal with it” and to “get over it”. You convince yourself that if you do come forward, it’s a weakness because as a man, you couldn’t fix it yourself. Men love to fix things.
I had the great, great fortune of seeing a psycho pharmacologist when I was on Saturday Night Live named Dr. Noel Taylor. In very simple terms, that I was able to understand, she informed me that I had a sickness. She pointed to her PDR books (Physician’s Desk Reference) behind her desk and told me that Panic Disorder, Bi-polar disorder, Depression, Alcoholism, Schitzophrenia and Multiple Personality disorder are listed in those books right along side of bronchitis, shingles, mumps and migraines. I was told by my doctor to surrender and accept that I had an illness. I was prescribed a drug called Klonopin, which I still take to this day and it saved my life. I take a one milligram in the morning and one milligram at night. It doesn’t make me high. The drug doesn’t make me loopy or woozy. For me, at this dosage, Klonopin does its job of stopping the flooding of my brain with endorphins and adrenalein at inopportune times. It makes me feel normal. The euphoria of simply living is something that people with mental health issues never, ever take for granted.
Unfortunately, there was no magic pill for my alcoholism. My sobriety had to come more arduously. Immediate and complete abstinence and following a program and staying in constant contact with other sober people that could re-assure me that what I was feeling and/or what I was craving was part of the process and that I needed to either go to a meting or stay on the phone and keep talking to them until I was able to simply not drink THAT NIGHT. The reason there are so many clichés associated with addiction is because they are all true, they are all to be implemented and they all work. “One day at a time.” “Keep it Simple”. “Let Go Let God.” Aren’t just bumper stickers you see while driving around town. For millions of Americans they are constant reminders of how to think simply and how to retrain the brain to get, “Back to Basics.”
As I said earlier, I had it easy, I was a civilian. For me quitting was a necessity because I couldn’t quit. Getting the help I needed for my mental health issues was as simple as finding a doctor that told me I had a “neurological glitch”. Some people get hives, the less fortunate get panic attacks, depression, borderline personality disorder or addiction. No matter how you want to look at these maladies, and make light of them, they are sicknesses. They should be treated as such not only by the patient but also by the employer, the coach, the media and the sports talk radio hosts. I cannot begin to imagine having the issues I had in a professional locker room. Alpha males rule the roost. The weak get weeded out early. What is more weak then asking a team doctor for help because when you pitch you get flooded with panic and you are certain you are going to die? Isn’t that team doctor going to red flag you to the rest of the team as being a “head case” or a “nut job?”
What is a faster way to show weakness than to tell your coach that you have borderline personality disorder? How weak would you look trying to explain Borderline Personality Disorder to that coach? The locker room mentality for more than a century has been, “Rub some dirt on it and get back out there!” Or the ever popular, “Walk it off.” How do you walk off thinking you’re going insane? How do you rub dirt on your brain? How do you explain depression to a manager? How can you walk anything off when your brain tells you it is completely pointless to even get out of bed because you are worthless?
The athletes that have come forward and received treatment are not to be made fun of. They are to be celebrated for their courage. The most Alpha male thing a man can do is to ask for help, especially in sports. To go completely across the grain and the day to day machismo of your surroundings and say, “This must stop” is far braver than making a tackle or shooting a basketball.
After the Lakers won their last championship, Ron Artest was being interviewed on the court as the confetti was still falling. The first person he thanked wasn’t his coach or any of his teammates. He thanked his psychiatrist. You may still chide Metta World Peace for being a head case but when you do you should know that he has seen more doctors than you have been to restaurants. Before you question Brandon Marshall’s focus during games, you should know that he has put in more work to better himself. Hell, simply to get himself into his uniform than you ever could in ten lifetimes. As for the addicts that you may make fun of, try for a second to know what it feels like to wake up every day with a giant hole in your insides that can only be filled with alcohol or drugs. Addicts/athletes (the addiction will always come first) can certainly be taken to task for not calling a cab or for hanging out at the clubs until the sun comes up. But before you speak, you should know that the addict/athlete you are talking about is waging a war each and every day to get out from under the disease that consumes all of his thoughts, all of the time.
Mental illnesses are just that. ILLNESSES. Would anyone go on the airwaves and mock Arthur Ashe for having A.I.D.S.? Does anyone tease Magic Johnson for contracting the HIV virus? Did anyone mock Michael Jordan for playing in the playoffs with the flu? Anyone recall thinking it was funny that Lou Gehrig had ALS or Martina Navratilova had breast cancer? Did sports talk radio hosts have a giggle about Hank Gathers’ Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy. No, of course not. Those people were sick. Well so are we.
It’s time for a change in Sports Talk Radio. It’s time to acknowledge that for an athlete to come forward and ask for help is braver than performing in any Super Bowl or any Game seven. It’s time to celebrate these athletes that are doing their jobs after overcoming these illnesses. If Zack Grienke had a blood disease and was hospitalized we would all hope and pray for his speedy recovery. Yet the snide comments about that “thing” he went through persist. If Brandon Marshall had cholera and still went out on Sundays and played football we would all be amazed at his courage and determination. Yet the snickers and jokes continue.
My name is Jay Mohr and I live with a mental illness and addiction everyday. No one mocks me. People don’t take to the airwaves to complain about my job performance because I’m a nut case or a screwball or a flake.. It’s time we stop laughing about these athletes and their illnesses and start getting behind their efforts to live with them. It’s time we help them raise awareness about their diseases (these are diseases and sicknesses mind you). It’s time we promote their charities. It’s time we stand up and cheer them for being in the upper one percent of the upper one percent of their profession. It’s time we realize they are in the one billionth percent of that one percent.
These are the strongest athletes living today. These are men that had the strength and the humility to ask for help. I speak from experience when I tell you that the only thing more terrifying than thinking you have a mental illness is sharing that information with someone else.
Let’s not forget that the athletes that don’t ask for help will resort to self medicating and living in secrecy.
How many athletes have committed suicide? What if they had the courage to speak up and step out? They may be alive today sharing their stories and helping others.
If Brandon Marshall drops a pass in the end zone, by all means boo your lungs out. If Zack Grienke walks in the winning run, feel free to scream that he is a bum at the top of your lungs. Just try and remember that after these men walk off the field, the real work begins.