A Super Hero Complex (A Couple of COVID stories)

Syndrome, the bad guy from The Incredibles, had it right when he said, “With everyone Super, no one will be.” That’s how I feel the world is now.

A buddy of mine was jogging on a treadmill at his gym. The mask fell down below his nose. He fixed it, and it kept happening. So eventually he left it. Screw it. His nose cooties were already out there anyway, right?

Well, the guy jogging next to him turned to him and said, “Hey man, you’ve got to cover your nose with your mask.”

Annoyed, my friend complied. But he was irked. So when he got done with his run, he said to his nosy neighbor, “Good job, buddy. You really saved a life today,” and flashed him a hugely sarcastic thumb’s up.

I’ve been out of a job since March because of this flu thing going around. I recently took a part-time job working at a warehouse to help make ends meet for me and my family. I got written up on my first day there.

Now, I’ve never been written up for anything in my nearly 20 years as a working class citizen. Let me tell you why it happened.

I’m there at 4:30 in the morning with a bunch of other grumpy new-hires. You can tell these were people who were not happy about having to take this warehouse job. One guy was a geologist in a recent, better life, and now here he was wearing a reflective vest.

Anyway, once the verbal training was over, it was time for us to go out into the warehouse and learn the tricks of the trade. We were each paired up with a worker and that worker was to teach us how to use the handheld device in order to scan the boxes and so on.

I was paired up with a 90-some year old man who was more in shape than me, but could hardly speak very well, especially with the confines of his mask and the noises erupting all around us.

So he had to stand close to me to show me how to work the hand-held monitor, and so that he could be heard.

A young shift leader suddenly came storming up to us, and yelled, “Hey! You’re supposed to be six feet apart! You should know better! I’m gonna have to write you both up.”

I said to the kid who had way too much power than he knew what to do with, “Take it easy, man. He’s just doing his job, showing me how to work here. And it’s my first day. You’re really going to do this?”

“Yes, I am. This is serious. It’s for your safety, you understand. I’m trying to keep you both safe.”

Safe from what? I wanted to ask. We had all had our temperatures checked before coming into the building. But I let that slide. However, I did ask him, “So how else is he supposed to train me if he can’t show me how to use the hand-held machine?”

His answer was, “I don’t know. That’s just something you have to figure out on your own.”

Now call me crazy, but if you’re going to reprimand someone for saying or doing something, like I do with my kids, the best course of action is to offer an alternative way of acting. But no, this dude had no idea how either of us were to do our job going forward – he was just going to write us up for, well, doing our jobs.

And here’s the funny part.

He asked to scan our badges that were hung around our necks. He scanned my elderly trainer’s, then he scanned mine. I held mine close to my chest so that he had no choice but to step within two feet of me.

I called him out on that. “You realize you just broke the very rule you’re writing me up for.”

Suffice it to say, he was not happy with me; I was not happy with him.

I did report him to HR and they apparently reprimanded him for writing someone up on their first day of work without any warning, and the company apologized profusely to me.

But people have this super hero complex where they have this idea that the media has fed them where the masks save lives.

I passive-aggressively blame the MCU for this super hero complex. It’s the generation who grew up wanting to be Iron Man and Thor that seem to be the most dogmatic about saving the world with their face diapers.

Let me tell you, if you’re not sick and I’m not sick, your mask and my mask aren’t going to help you any more than the pebble in my shoe is going to affect your foot or vise versa.

If you really want to be a hero, mind your own business. Batman never told people how to act. He just chilled in his Bat Cave if he didn’t want to be around anyone. Locked himself in. Left everyone else alone.

The Water Tales Podcast

As in my previous post, I discussed turning your book into a podcast. Here’s a personal example of how I did that for a client of mine. I rewrote her children’s book into a 10-part podcast. I then provided the voice of the narrator, edited, added sound foleys and music, and produced it into the product you see below. Give it a listen. Your young ones will certainly enjoy it.

https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/the-water-tales/id1548501165

Why Turn Your Book Into a Podcast?

You did it, you published your book. Congratulations! But why stop there? Have you considered adding podcasting to your resume? The written word can only go so far in today’s social media consumption culture. A podcast could be another great way to expand your influence and reach by making your voice heard. Let’s explore the benefits of turning your book into a podcast. 

Podcasting books is a unique avenue that excites many authors. Podcasts are gaining more and more popularity each year, with people looking for new things to listen to while they shop, commute, or work out. Over a quarter of Americans listen to podcasts every month — and that number is rapidly growing. 

WHAT IS A PODCAST?

A podcast is an on-demand audio broadcast like those old radio shows your grandparents listened to. But podcasts are anything but old-fashioned. Podcasts can be downloaded and taken anywhere on any device. And once a subscriber is notified of a new episode, they can listen to it any time they want.

WHY PODCAST YOUR BOOK?

  • Putting your book into podcast form can increase your influence and your name. 
  • Podcasting allows you to build a fanbase that can turn into loyal readers and listeners.
  • Podcasting is another avenue for fans to hear about your upcoming projects like future books, speaking engagements, or even exciting news about your business. 
  • Podcasting your book can create another revenue stream. 

HOW CAN I MAKE MONEY WITH A PODCAST?

While the podcast itself is free, sponsors can be found to put ads into your show. There’s also the options of affiliate marketing, crowdfunding, selling merchandise, and hosting live events. There’s also Patreon.

WHAT IS PATREON?

From patreon.com: “On Patreon, you can let your fans become active participants in the work they love by offering them a monthly membership. You give them access to exclusive content, community, and insight into your creative process. In exchange, you get the freedom to do your best work, and the stability you need to build an independent creative career.”

WOULD MY BOOK WORK AS A PODCAST?

Whether your book is fiction or nonfiction, your book can be turned into a podcast. 

  • Nonfiction – You or a professional narrator can simply read the book aloud, with each chapter being an episode. Self-improvement, business, and health-related podcasts are very popular. 
  • Fiction – Sound foleys and music can be inserted to help enhance the listening experience. Voice actors can even be hired to read dialogue scenes if you choose! 

WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN AN AUDIOBOOK AND A PODCAST?

There are some obvious similarities, but there are some notable differences. 

  • Audiobooks must be paid for upfront. Podcasts are supported by advertisers who pay for the content. If you post a chapter of your book once a week, you could very well get someone hooked enough to buy the book so they can read it and own it. 
  • Audiobooks can be difficult to control, and it’s easy to lose your place. With podcasts, however, episodes are usually under an hour, and they’re designed to be listed to within one session. Episodes are easily consumed and your spot is automatically saved if you need to take a break. 
  • Audiobooks are one-time events, whereas podcasts are episodic and continue to live and expand as long as there is content to feed it. It’s much easier to build a community with a podcast, because you can add announcements and updates about your upcoming works within your episodes. And let’s say a subscriber has finished your book, and you want to take a break from podcasting for a while. Well, when you’re ready to post an update about something you’ve got coming out, that subscriber will be notified. For that reason it’s much easier to remember podcasts than it is to remember audiobooks.

I would love to be an integral part of your podcasting experience. I have experience in producing, sound engineering, editing, and narrating. I’ve adapted and transformed a children’s book into a ten-part podcast and I’m working on doing the same for my own novel.

For more information, I’d love to speak with you. Feel free to email me at author.andrewtoy@gmail.com.

Election 2020: We’re the Luckiest People of All Time!

I’m almost to the point where I’m going to shut off all my social media. Not because of the crazy election happenings. No, that stuff’s fine. The fact that people are actually surprised by it is bewildering to me. Of course we weren’t going to get immediate results. I’m about to shut off social media because of all the whinny latte-drinking babies claiming that this election is taking a toll on their mental and physical health.

Boo-freakidy-hoo, people! If your way of life is so tethered to thugs in the government, then you deserve to have them run your life.

It’s a presidential race. Just like in all of history, we’ve had good republican presidents, and bad liberal presidents, bad republican presidents and good liberal presidents, and we’ve even had a president with no political affiliations, one was a federalist, and more than one were democratic-republican. Our country’s a mixed bag. That’s why we also have a house and senate.

And half of the whinny people I see on social media are from Canada or Australia! They’re like the narcissistic aunts who freak out that you’re dying of cancer but find a way to make it all about themselves. Or as someone else put it about the Canadians:

I cannot tell you how many snide and sarcastic comments I’ve written to these babies that I had to go and immediately delete before I caused them to go shoot themselves.

Like. It’s an election. Sure, it’s something that will determine how subsequent history books will be written. But just like all other elections, there will be a winner and loser. We all made it through eight years of Obama, and four years of Trump, either way, it’s not going to be the end of the world – for anyone. People still got married and had kids and graduated and got up and worked at their jobs no matter who the president was in the past. It’ll be the same going forward.

What, you’re going to call off your wedding because Biden is president? You’re going refuse accepting your diploma because Trump is in the White House? Why are you people letting this election run your lives so close to home?

What I want to point out here is that we are the luckiest people on the planet, and no one seems to get that. Let’s look back at what we’ve been through together:

We’ve seen civil rights make progress

We’ve triumphed in the wake of 9/11

We’ve survived one recount (Bush/Gore)

We’ve experienced the fruits of technical advancements far beyond our imagination

We’re making it through COVID-19

People, as a country, we’ve endured a lot. But endured is the wrong word. I’d say that word is reserved for countries far less fortunate than ours.

But we’ve gone through a lot together. Not to mention we’re so lucky to be alive for all the things we get to see, like the Lakers and Dodgers taking the championships this year, we’re the only people in history who got to see 20 Marvel movies culminate into a larger-than-life spectacular in Avengers: Endgame – sounds silly, but we got to live to experience that. The point is, there’s still good things in this world.

We are so lucky to be alive.

And despite how this election goes, we’re living through history right now. We’re so lucky! Like, it’s pretty damn cool. We’ve got front-row seats to tell our kids and grandkids what it was like. While others are crying and taking sick days to eat chocolate bars and pudding, I’m excited and thrilled to be living through all this.

We’ve seen a lot this year alone. If you’re reading this, you’re a survivor.

Be proud of that, and act like it.