The Unsinkable brian cork™

Brian Patrick Cork is living the Authentic Life

I don’t know if God created Humans to Race

October8

so… one of my U14 Girls soccer families includes a son that is stumbling.  one of the Mom’s shared with me a few details. the kid is on a run with bad luck. however, those things change. some times its with a will, more often it’s dealing with the loving hands of a higher power.

but, there is much to be said of attitude.

you don’t need to care about the mom’s soulful and heart-breaking words. my message to her follows. I’ll report back with updates as they are realized.

Hey [REDACTED].

A few ranting points for now, with more specific thinking to follow later:

“Failure” is only realized with a lack of trying. This can mean trying at all, or trying your best.

That said, life tracks to evolution. It’s all about trial-and-error. The entire human race has arrived to our current state due to a lot of failure – more failure than success; but, here we all are. [REDACTED] is too young to be a failure. He has not even tasted enough success for a comparative analysis. Any set-back is a tremendous opportunity to learn and get better. That’s not cliche, it is simple fact.

The irony with much of whom we are as a people is our being referred to as, “the human race”. We compete with one another without rhyme or reason.

I’m a parent too. I fall into the same trap you have. We have expectations for our children. They tend to be a bit undefined. Grades, school, love, competition of all types. The standard for measurement is derived from almost unhuman (I’m not writing, “inhuman”, intentionally) standards. That can be Kardashians, the NFL, Stephen Hawkings, the neighbors kid that got lucky with DNA, or a group of kids that just try harder than everyone else.

Sometimes we gotta slow down. Stop racing. Just listen to our heartbeat. Ask the question, “who am I in this moment?”.

I could be flippant and tell you that [REDACTED] profiles like a decent percentage of .com entrepreneurs. However, that will set the wrong tone.

[REDACTED] must first be able to answer some questions to gain both his footing, and his confidence. Those questions might include:

What are you good at?
What do you want to do (the toughest question EVER).
Who needs you?
Why?
What will you do next?

More later.

I’m happy to meet with [REDACTED].

There will never be an easy answer. His lot may end-up being Biblical. But, his best bet is to be the sort of young man that people ask him what makes him, different.

Brian

P.S… I spent some time living out of my car with my dog, Alex.

brian cork under pocket squares and protocol

May27

men like myself likely horrify, if not offend, better men such as Mark Fonseca.

…sometimes.

Mark is handsome, reputedly a great Dad, hockey coach, and damn good at what he does professionally (make sure you don’t judge him by my style of dress, mind you). I think Herman Cain will need mark with his best hopes of securing the GOP nomination.

and, it’s ironic, risky and unusual that you are reading me having an opinion about something very fashion-oriented. but, I walk, and daily, with men who change the world, affect it in uncounted ways, and need to dress different than me. just so we are clear, that’s the backdrop for this post.

meanwhile… over the course of a recent covert trip I espied a gentleman rolling his shoulders into a stiff cool wind sporting a topcoat (this is clearly different than a trench coat). first of all, it was cool enough for a topcoat that day, and I was wearing a wool sweater. but, what caught my eye was a silk square in the breast pocket (a red carnation would have done the trick, but this is me guessing none were handy) of his coat.

so… I did some research, outside of my own experience. pocket squares in outercoat pockets are mildly controversial of course. probably along the lines of wearing seersucker (they fall somewhere in between when it comes down to [sport] coats, blazers and jackets) with a pocket square and khaki shorts (I freely admit doing so – especially at Polo events). what I know for certain is that the arguably eccentric HRH the Prince of Wales, diligent pocket square in suit jacket person that he is, leaves his outercoat breast pockets empty. on the other hand, he often has a flower or ribbon in his left lapel, and that serves the same purpose of adding some visual interest to the upper chest area.

by the way… I wore a suit five times in college ( a blazer more often). two of those times my Mom was involved. I would do anything for my Mom. my girlfriend (who could be very convincing) did not have that kind of influence over me. but, it was not uncommon to spot me wearing a blazer, of sorts, (sometimes even a jacket) with khaki shorts in school. it wasn’t just a fraternity thing (I took fraternity rather seriously). it was a me thing. and, often this involved one of my Grandad’s custom made handerkerchiefs rakishly stuffed in the breat pocket.

there is still a school of thought (this is across town from the school of hard knocks) that holds a man should never wear a handkerchief in the breast pocket of a city suit, let alone an outercoat, reserving them for the country (I believe this is a holdover from the frock coat era when city jackets had no breast pockets).

other men (presumably enlightened fellows that may or may not write about such things) argue that where there is a breast pocket, there should always be a handkerchief.

however, men whom find controversy a thing to be avoided can obtain a ready supply of red carnations and ignore the handkerchief question of course, thereby securing all the style without any of the disputation. but, given the effort associated with a greenhouse in winter, I will stick with silk, especially around horses and women in large-brimmed hats. and, weddings. and, boats.

all that said, it used to be, maybe two or three years ago, that the sight of a pocket square in a mans jacket was remarkable. after decades of abuse at the hands of dandies and fogies, it’d (note: it’s not often you can find an appropriate place and way to use “it’d”) been resurrected, brought back into the mainstream by legions of young men who decided that caring about style wasn’t some kind of mortal sin. panache might be another story. that comes from the eyes. it’s true.

then Mad Men happened, and the pocket square became popular. so popular, in fact, that the sight of one in a man’s jacket (from New York to Los Angeles, including Charleston) is no longer remarkable at all. it’s commonplace (not with khaki shorts, mind you) and at times even expected, and what began two or three years ago as a collective act of reclamation – or rebellion, has become just another thing that guys are supposed to wear.

to be sure, there are worse things in the world, but the fizzle and pop of a pocket square has gone flat. but, that’s because people that think that way (and watch Mad Men) see it as a fad, and less so a statement with the trend surviving a century. so, the unenlightened probably believe that the surest way a man can show his independent-mindedness – the very thing that he once did with a pocket square – is to go without one altogether.

that’s fine by me, my Grandad (I sure as hell miss him), the Prince of Wales, many of my fraternity brothers, and all of the Prudent Society of Optimistic Gentlemen. me, I’m sticking with Panache. but, just so we remain, and, always clear, I often wear weathered Doc Martens with no socks (or low socks) to work with khaki shorts (more often than not they are Polo).

however, there is good news, if not hope, for everyone [else]. as Esquire fashion director Nick Sullivan recommends in his new Style Manifesto for 2009, cool socks, or at least a little cuff, might be a good move these days.

me? I use unique cufflinks with shirts built by Fonseca.

peace be to my Brothers and Sisters.

brian patrick cork

 

 

old things seem New to me

March22

So… I grew up in a military family. Ha! It’s painfully and juxtapositionally obvious, but also perplexing to most in my path. My Dad retired from the United States Air Force as a full Colonel. Many of my memories around Dad and his own measure of success – not to mention his influence over me are often detailed in this Blog. By reference, and an apparent favorite: do not miss your Chance to blow it.

However, I cam face-to-face with a relevant application of his example and influence from long ago just yesterday.

Setting the stage…

Early on, living the life of a scion of the Officer’s Club, I was exposed to the cream of the Air Force’s Strategic Air Command, and learned what those gallant men and women meant when they lived and died by the credo: “Peace is our Profession”. without realizing it at the time I came to appreciate experience, expertise and the chain-of-command. I witnessed first-hand, the synergy employed and enjoyed by gray-haird General’s mixing daily with fresh-faced 2nd Lieutenants, all firm in the belief their lives and contributions made a vital difference to one another, and the sanctity of our Constitution.

This means it never occurred to me that age, in-of-itself, was relevant. Only performance; and, all of it driven by courtesy and respect, and the call to action around a shred purpose. None were judged by anything but their ability to command and take commands that resulted, daily, in an efficient process that enabled them all to put their very lives into one another’s hands, without a second thought.

For example, I’ve never looked at an older man and saw weakness or lack of relevance. I saw only the likely potential of wisdom based upon one experience or another.

On the other hand, it’s never occurred to me to look at young people, as relative as that term has to be, and saw a lack of potential or ability.

Mind you… I’ve had my own adventures, hinted to in this Blog as well, but understood by only a few. But, my most recognized contributions have come through my duties as a Dad – and, that of a business man, that others approach for advice, guidance and stewardship.

And, for the first time in my business life, Friday in fact, I came face-to-face with a small team of burgeoning entrepreneurs, still in college, that invaded my offices – with the intention of enforcing accountability.

Background…

I’m in the midst of acquiring another startup that I’m convinced has a product that is a marketing-oriented game-changer. These soon-to-be-graduates are currently customers of the company. They are not pleased with the progress of their unique project. Our people say there is “scope-creep”. The customer says there is poor communication and missed deadlines. I want customer satisfaction and, thusly, affirmation of my investment.

Time will tell all.

But, in any event, at the large table in my board room, I found myself with three hearty and ferocious businessmen that, by age alone, qualified them to be my children. Although their graduation from college is imminent, with less than two months to go, they seemed small to me. And, they were naive, to be sure. But, eager and passionate, more importantly. And, they were irate over what to them was a lack of accountability on the part of the company. That is something that I’m unaccustomed too. My own ventures to date have been the example and hall-marks of accountability and service. So, I started the meeting open-minded. I coach soccer teams that are now at the U14 and U16 age bracket (and, they were all once at the U11 bracket). But, this was different. The first thought was mental arithmetic. I had started my own business at nineteen, also while in college (with the help of my Grandad’s money). I sold that business a week after graduation. So, I could, at many levels, relate to these young men.

But, I was biased. I knew it right away. Not defensive because they were displeased with a company I was involved with. No… I was actually age-biased.

I liked them well enough. I put them into the hands of a Project Manager that I’m mentoring myself, and even bought the entire lot lunch. We committed to deadlines and will work, with intent and a will, to see those critical deadlines met – all based upon collaboration.

But, this is me now. I’ll be fifty in October. I know I’m fitter than most. I’m always being sized-up by representatives of every generation; and, this group was no exception. I could do fifty pull-ups (I have the bar across the doorway of my office) with them hanging onto my back. And, that is how I viewed the entire matter… I’ll sling that crew over my should and see them to success. But, along the way I have to recognize that I’m going to be seeing more people that are younger than me, than older – and, my role in the business community is going to evolve, but possibly in ways I might not have considered before now.

So, every turn creates another opportunity to learn. But, also a challenge to be that example I experienced and have tried to live by daily, sitting at the feet of men that strode like giants around the world and taught me compassion, respect and accountability.

I’ll pause here and admit that I was sorely tested, a few times, to admonish them with a firm: “Stop interrupting each other”, and, “Please stop chewing on my business card”. But, they were, from their own perspective, probably working with an “old dude” with a big reputation for the first time in their emerging professional lives.

My own daughter, Haley Anne’s visage was flashing before my eyes. So to, were the eager faces of the students at Radford University, Georgia State and MIT, where I get to lecture from time-to-time came to mind. I’ll add my plans around “brian’s BEANS” as well. And, so that stage continues to be set, and my experiences are new and levied by other new things – including newer people and opportunities.

And, all these younger people are going to hold me accountable.

I’l have it no other way as they teach me and make me better and fitter to represent and reflect every talent God can squeeze into, and out of, me. This is where the Heterodox finds itself.

Peace be to my Brothers and Sisters.

Brian Patrick Cork

love Kat tip #12

June18

If you don’t feel like you’re getting the love you should get, then maybe you should ask yourself if you’re giving the love you should give.

Peace be to my Brothers and Sisters.

Brian Patrick Cork

What’s All This About?

"What am I looking at?", you might wonder.

Lots of stuff.

Meanwhile, here, I discuss events, people and things in our world - and, my (hardly simplistic, albeit inarticulate) views around them.

You'll also learn things about, well, things, like people you need to know about, and information about companies you can't find anywhere else.

So, while I harangue the public in my not so gentle way, you will discover that I am fascinated by all things arcane, curious about those whom appear religious, love music, dabble in politics, loathe the media, value education, still think I am an athlete, and might offer a recipe.

All the while, striving mightily, and daily, to remain a prudent and optimistic gentleman - and, authentic.

brian cork by John Campbell





photos by John Campbell

 

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