Friday, May 23, 2014

Book Review: Manhood

The last few days I've been devouring a book by one of my favorite comedic actors, "Manhood" by Terry Crews. You know Terry Crews. The Old Spice guy, The Expendables, White Chicks, Everyone Hates Chris, Idiocracy, Brooklyn 99 and many other films and television shows. He was also in the NFL.

I've always liked him since seeing him in the film Idiocracy -

and White Chicks

Every time after White Chicks an Old Spice commercial would air I'd point at the screen and say, 'Hey! It's that guy!' before I finally figured out his name and followed him on Facebook. He always seems to post very upbeat and positive messages on his time line and being that I'm something of a smartass I like some positivity to counteract my own sarcasm. Plus he makes me laugh and I love to laugh.

Some of his Old Spice commercials.

The man makes me laugh and inspires me in my workouts. So when he came out with a book titled "Manhood" - an autobiographical journey to his own manhood I could not resist. I figured the book would be about his awesome life as a popular kid/sports hero in school leading to a college scholarship followed by the NFL, scads of moolah and Hollywood. I guessed very wrong.

Terry says early on in the book that he thought about titling it "My Life as a Jerk" and that might have been a fitting title for some of it. He had the entire 'I am The Greatest' entitlement issues of a former NFLer I got to experience first hand in my college years when I went on a series of dates with a former member of the Atlanta Falcons NFL team. Three dates exactly.

How jerky was the former Falcon? Third date he tried to take me to the Motel 6, telling me everyone puts out on the third date and I was hopelessly old fashioned if I thought otherwise. He'd wined and dined me, now it was my turn to show some appreciation. He ended up driving off in anger because I'd told him no, there was not going to be any sexy fun time at the Motel 6 and left me by the side of the road to call a cab. Later I discovered he'd also been seeing this other girl I worked with I didn't know well. We ended up bonding over margaritas after work and tales of how awful former Falcon was. She ended up being my maid of honor at my wedding.

My point with that little story is that guys that have been told they are the greatest and end up, if only for a year or two, doing something not everyone can do, like playing in the National Football League, sometimes have lots of entitlement issues. Terry Crews shared his, warts and all, while talking about his years in the league. His honest is refreshing in a world where everyone wants to pretend they are perfect.

What blew me away about this honest self-reflective book was not the fame and glory of the football field or acting in Hollywood. It was the fact that here is another person, just like all of us at No Longer Quivering, that has been spiritually abused and had to work through that abuse to heal and get to freedom. It's a good recovery read.

Crews was raised in a very religious household with abuse and alcoholism and was an exceptionally good boy with a few dark secrets of his own. Once he went to college he suffered at the hands of Maranatha Campus Ministries, just like NLQ's Kristen Rosser. His story of his treatment by those in leadership ring sadly true.

But even with everything he's been through Crews has always managed to hold on to his spirituality and keep moving forward, from jerk to a much better human being. Isn't that really the story (or it should be) of all of us? Moving from strength to strength to be kinder, more compassionate and loving.

Even if you don't know who Terry Crews is I have to say 'Manhood' is a great read and very inspirational. Terry Crews is on a journey to be a better man.

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