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How to Gain Admiration & Respect Immediately

Fuzzy Fusaro (July 07, 2010)
Most guys my age credit Sylvester Stallone’s “Rocky” as the movie that inspired them when they were in their early teens. But before “Rocky,” it was the movie “C.C. & Company” starring Joe Namath that started me on my quest to become the coolest kid in New Jersey.


Recently I was in a convenience store picking up some gum.  While wandering down an aisle, I was blown away when I saw they had a DVD of the 1970 movie “C.C. & Company” for sale!  It was only $1.99!  $1.99! It was basically the same price as the gum.

So I grabbed it and went straight to the register.


Most guys my age credit Sylvester Stallone’s “Rocky” as the movie that inspired them when they were in their early teens.  But before “Rocky,” it was the movie “C.C. & Company” starring Joe Namath that started me on my quest to become the coolest kid in New Jersey.



Joe Namath was the superstar quarterback of the Super Bowl champion

New York Jets at the time.  He was the ultimate celebrity playboy

athlete and when I saw him in the opening scene of the film, I found

my inspiration.  For years the opening scene of that film influenced

my life, for better or worse.

The film opens with Namath walking into a supermarket.  He strolls

down an aisle, stops and loads his cart with several cans of

vegetables. Then as he continues up and down the aisles, it becomes

obvious he is only pretending to shop.  He does this so he can go

unnoticed while he assembles a sandwich for himself, which he eats

during the scene.  When he finishes his sandwich, the only thing he

buys is pack of gum (hmm… maybe that’s why I still find myself always

buying gum). Anyway, he then exits the store, hops on his black and

white zebra-striped chopper and drives off onto the open road.  At the

time, this was the coolest thing I ever saw.

 

 

I thought, “That’s the way to rip off a sandwich.”   At least that’s

what I thought on the surface.  The underlying belief was, “If I was

like Joe Namath, I’d be cool and everyone would love me!”   I hopped

on my bike and raced to the Styertown Shopping Center.  I pulled up in

front of the Grand Union grocery store, laid my bike down on the

sidewalk, walked in, grabbed a cart and got started.   I was going to

be just like Joe Namath.  Only difference, I was caught in the act.

When my father asked, “What the fu*k were you thinking?!”,  I was too

embarrassed to tell him the truth, so I answered with my famous last

words: “I don’t know.”

But for some reason, this didn’t stop me.  My Namath debacle was only

the beginning of endless desperate attempts at emulating people I saw

on TV.   Here’s a short list: there was the matching headband and

sleeveless t-shirt combo I saw the lead singer of the band “Loverboy”

wear in their music videos.  I started smoking cigarettes, hoping that

would deliver me into the cool lifestyle promised in the ad.  I even went

so far as to smoke More Slims believing they’d make me Telly

Savalas - “Kojak” cool.  All they did was make me nauseous.  


Then there was the time I tore out an underwear ad depicting a handsome model sporting a feathered style and brought it to my barber.  I was convinced having that haircut would change

everything. When the barber was done and spun me around in the chair,

for the big reveal in the mirror, what a bummer.   


I just looked like

me, only with a feathered haircut.  Oh, and the film, “Rocky?”

Thanks to Stallone, I was downing raw eggs and protein powder

convinced that bigger biceps would magically bring admiration.  I

still can’t remember what movie inspired to play up my New Jersey

accent, in hopes I would be mistaken for a tough guy from New York,

but I did that, too.

 

If my humiliation can help others, then revealing this picture is worth it.

 

If my humiliation can help others, then revealing this picture is worth it.

All this effort failed and I still felt inadequate.  So, I redoubled

my efforts.  I could not see that by trying to be like someone else,

I’d never measure up.  The only results I got were bad, leading me

straight to the Pearl Harbor brig.  Alone and reeking of self-pity I

cried out, “Why do I have to be me?”  I was convinced I failed at my

attempts to be more like those respected, ruggedly cool and

sophisticated heroes I tried to emulate.

Just when I thought it couldn’t get any worse, I was confronted by

United States Marine Corps Master Gunnery Sergeant Mike Urton.  He

asked me a simple question.

“You know what you are, Fusaro?”

I couldn’t answer, I had no idea, and I said nothing.

“A phony FU*K!”

With these three little words he knocked the wind out of my sails.

Although in a way that may seem rude and hurtful to some,  Master Gunnery Sgt. Urton

brought me relief.  What he said was true.  He knew it, and I knew it.

  I wasn’t fooling anyone, and as embarrassing  as that was to come to

terms with, I felt at peace accepting that fact.  Finally, I no longer

had to pretend to be anyone else.  


As inadequate as  I thought I was,

it felt so much better than constantly trying to be someone I wasn’t.

At last I could just be me, Darrell Fusaro, the one person I could be

naturally.

Now it’s clear why I admired Joe Namath.  It was the same thing the

reviewers of the film criticized him for, saying “Namath was no actor!

He just waltzes through the film as himself.”  Ironically, that is

what made him so special.  He was just being himself as God intended.

Man, I wish I realized that sooner.

So when all else fails, be yourself.  You’re perfect for the part!

Around the time I met Master Gunnery Sgt. Urton, a friend of mine gave me a copy of, "The Man in the Glass."  I have a copy of it in my wallet to keep me from veering off course.  It sums it up perfectly.

The Man in the Glass

When you get what you want in your struggle for self,

And the world makes you king for a day,

Just go to the mirror and look at yourself

And see what that man has to say.

For it isn’t your father or mother or wife

Whose judgment upon you must pass;

The fellow whose verdict counts most in your life

Is the one staring back in the glass.

Some people may think you a straight-shooting chum

And call you a wonderful guy,

But the man in the glass says you’re only a bum

If you can’t look him straight in the eye.

He’s the fellow to please, never mind all the rest

For he’s with you clear up to the end,

And you’ve passed your most dangerous, difficult test

If the man in the glass is your friend.

You may fool the whole world down the pathway of years

And get pats on the back as you pass,

But your final reward will be heartache and tears

If you’ve cheated the man in the glass.


- Author Unknown


The original copy my good friend, Mike Dugan, gave me in 1986.


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