Down With O.P.P. (Other People’s Perceptions)?

Down With O.P.P. (Other People’s Perceptions)?

You down with O.P.P?

Yeah, you know me!

You down with O.P.P?

Yeah, you know me!

All of us have come face to face with family & friends who do not agree with, and quite often do not understand, what we are doing and what we are about.  They are sure what you are doing is wrong and you will only wind up hurting yourself, others, and (even worse) them!  Breaking through your defenses with knowing smiles and furrowed brows, they hide behind their super-friend guise of concern and offer up an unending stream of advice.  When this fails to talk sense into you, their “friendly” advice becomes more pronounced… aggressive… sometimes, even threatening.

How can you be so blind?!

Can’t you see what you’re doing—how you’re hurting yourself and everyone around you?

How can you be so selfish?!

You Bastard!

Sound familiar?  It does to me—even the “bastard” part.  (Okay, maybe I’m paraphrasing… taking poetic license and being a tad overdramatic.  But, that’s how it sounds in my head.)  All the high dramatics aside, I’m here to tell you…

“It’s none of your business what other people think of you.”

(In “quotation marks” because many others have said this before—“I stand on the shoulders of giants.”)

It is human nature to want to keep the status quo.  Home & office, friends & family—there is a hierarchy, a pecking order if you will that most people strive to keep.  Office politics and corporate hierarchy often dictate that their denizens jockey for position like nobility at court.  The same can be said of your friend and family social structures.  No matter where you are in life, each group you come in contact with has its Alpha, its Beta, and even its Psi & Omega.

Then you come along….

With your highfalutin ideas about changing your life for the better.  It’s not “good.”  It’s not “normal.”  Others certainly don’t want you altering things… especially if this means they’ll be moving down a few rungs on the social ladder.

Is this true?

Some yes.

Am I telling you this so you can be pissed off at the injustice of it all?

Mostly no.

Mostly I’m telling you so you will understand why it happens, recognize it when it happens.  It doesn’t affect you.  At least, it doesn’t have to.  Why?  Because you see it coming and you can steel your self-esteem against the onslaught of their crippling barbs & jeers?

No.  Well… some, but mostly no.

It doesn’t affect you because…

“It’s none of your business what other people think of you.”  Still.

There is a story I’ve heard about crabs in a bucket.  It seems you only have to put a lid over the bucket when you have caught only the first one.  After that, when you have more crabs in the bucket, they do all the work.  Even though safety, freedom, and a much longer lifespan reside on the outside, the remaining crabs pull the would-be escapee back down to their level.

To the bucket.

To their doom.

It is human nature to do the same thing…mostly without the impending doom.  Mostly.  You see, this behavior has spelled the death of many a dream.  Pull them down enough and creative types will finally come to their senses, leaving go of an inspiration that “probably” wouldn’t go anywhere anyway.  A crushed spirit can lead to a safe & secure J-O-B.

Remember, others forcing their Perceptions and Opinions on you = Peer Pressure.  This was a big pain in the butt during high school & college.  It’s time to begin growing past this now.

Are people actually holding you back?  Physically?  Really?!  Or could it be that you value their opinions over yours?  You’re worried about what other people might think, so you buckle under the perceived “pressure.”  You hold your tongue instead of offering your brilliant suggestion at the board meeting.  One week later, you watch Johnston submitting your idea, receiving all the praise.


That idea-stealing, dream-crushing glory thief.

He kept you back.  He held you down.  When you shared your idea with him he physically… did nothing.  Other than physically open his mouth, suggesting your idea “outlandish.”  You did the rest.  Worried about what your coworkers might think, you kept your mouth shut.

You did it.


Instead of worrying about what anybody else thought, Johnston stuck his neck out and offered up your idea.  Sure, he’s not going to win Team Player of the Year, but who cares?!  He’s on his way up & out of the bucket and you’re not.

Next time you have another brilliant idea (don’t worry, you will; you have them all the time), speak up.  Whether it’s about your job, some creative spark, or a dream you just can’t quit—make your move.

Don’t worry about what others think.

Why should you?  They’re not worried about you.  Not really.

People are too enmeshed in their own lead role to worry about your bit part in their life.  Everybody’s got their own stuff going on.  Their world, and opinion of you, is colored by that.  It’s not personal.  Remember, everyone is hip deep in their own sheep sugar and the smell is why they’re making that funny face—not you.

But, what if they’re right… and you’re not!?

Life is a game, meant to be played—an experiment where you try new things.  Often you will fall flat on your face…and that’s okay—great even!  This is how we learn how to do this thing called Life.  As long as you’re not hurting yourself or others, muck things up a bit.  Take chances.  Ready, fire, then aim as you go.  It’s okay—you’re doing fine!

Only you can decide what your life is about—what’s important, what’s not.  At the end of the day, Y-O-U are responsible for your own experiences.  That means you can make mistakes and….

You can fix them!

These are your lessons.  You have to learn them, to go through “the fire” sometimes in order to Level Up Your Life.  When it comes to your life, you are responsible—yours is the opinion that matters.  I’m not going to tell you that everything will always work out the way you want.  In fact, often, when you get what you want, it winds up not looking anything like you thought it might.  Is this some cruel cosmic joke?

No.  Maybe.  Sure.  Who cares!

Whatever happens, isn’t it better to follow your passion?  To attempt even a few of your “crazy” ideas?  Rather than suffer a life of “quiet desperation”?  You might surprise yourself.  You will fall flat on your face…a lot.  But, that’s okay.  That’s why you’re here.  To run and fall and skin your knees… and create a great life for yourself.

So, what do you say?

You down with O.P.P.?

No way, not me!

You down with O.P.P.?

No way, not me!

You know what?  Me neither.

“I took the road less traveled, and it has made all the difference.”

~Robert Frost~

For more on this topic, check out the podcast >>TOSOL #55 – Down With O.P.P. (Other People’s Perceptions)? <<


Put love first.  When you concentrate on your job, you succeed.  When you invest time learning about a career skill, your favorite sports team, even more about your friends, you become an expert in those fields.  What about the Arena of Love?  Don’t you think you should spend more time and effort in that area?  You do want a fabulous love life…don’t you?  When it comes to your relationship, are you the student, reluctant to crack your textbooks…or the connoisseur?

It’s no secret, your relationship is not something you can set & forget, just “wishing” for the best.  You have to do something about it, growing the intimacy in your life…even when you’re not in the mood.  I’m not saying you should look at this like work.  Love isn’t a chore…though sometimes it may feel that way.  Have fun with cultivating deeper intimacy in your life.  Treat it like a new fascination, looking for opportunities to get back to romantic playtime.  The feelings will follow, especially when you and your partner begin to turn up the steam.

When you put love first, you concentrate on it, you focus on it.  You’re putting God and the Universe, as well as yourself and your partner on notice that you’re serious about having intimacy in your life.  Begin doting on your relationship as you would a favorite hobby.  Have a weekly Date Night, where you and your mate get back to your romantic roots.  Read up on the latest regarding intimacy, relationships, and—yummy—sex!  Create a Dream Board with your partner, pasting pictures of what you want your relationship to look like on a board suitable for framing.  Do whatever voodoo you need do, but…


R. Mordant Mahon


There’s been some confusion of late, as to what you should call me. You’ve seen or heard me throw out the names “Mordant,” and “Raphael,” and “Riki”—and perhaps a couple others tossed here and there into the mix. What’s up with that?! What should you call me and where do all these names come from anyway? I’m a little public for the Witness Protection Program, so it’s not that. Probably. Perhaps I’m just eccentric (read: weird), and like the thought of a ton of pseudonyms. You know…having so many people in my head that I don’t ever feel alone. But, that would be just a little too whack-a-doodle, don’t you think? The voices in my head agree with me, so it must be true.

I was adopted at birth and given the name Ronald Richard Robinson. My family goes by their middle names, and that’s where Riki comes in—from Richard. (Much better than the other nickname I could have gotten from Richard, believe you me.) It’s always been Riki and it’s always been spelled the way it is. In my teens, I tried to shorten it to Rik, but my mother said, “No! You’re name’s Riki.” And so, Riki it is.

Until I became a Tortuga Twin.

In 1987, I co-founded a comedy troupe. Known mostly as a trio (there are currently six of us on the roster), but back then we were a duo. We were portraying twin gypsy brothers looking for their lost princess—a brilliant way to meet girls according to our twenty-something minds. We needed a catchy name that sounded ethnic. The Tortuga Twins fit all that.

At the time there was an independent comic book known as Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (you might have heard of it). Tortuga means turtle in Spanish. As a play on words, and to pay homage to our geekdom, Jef took the name Donatello (he later changed it to D’Angelo), while I took Raphael. Besides, it began with an “R.” I have a fondness for “Rs.” Go figure.

To mix things up even more, if you ever happen to find a lost cell phone of mine, you’ll see the name Riki Tortuga on it. That’s how I’m known by most on the renaissance festival circuit. Again, go figure.

What does all this have to do with Mordant? Don’t worry, that’s next.

In 2003, I reconnected with my birth mother, Mary Mahon (her maiden name). While spending time with her—first in Florida, then in Spain—I asked her what name she would have given me. Being British of Irish descent, it would have been a doosie. John Edward Antony Noel Mordant Mahon, after her late brother. Wow.

As I was the only of her children that she had contact with—there is another that I know of—she asked that I do something to carry on the family name. Thus R. Mordant Mahon was born. I especially like it because “Mordant” is a reagent used on color in the dyeing process (“it makes things stick” as a friend of mine recently pointed out). Also, in literature, it is “a biting reply.” Not too shabby for a writer if I do say so myself.

There you have it. Call me Mordant. Some because I really like the name even if it doesn’t begin with an “R.” Some because as I brand it into the public consciousness, that’s how they’ll know me. But mostly, and honestly, because it pleases me dear mum.

R. Mordant Mahon

As An Addendum
Okay…to avoid FURTHER confusion – call me Mordant HERE. And when I’m out doing Mordanty things. It is my author name, but should not become a stumbling block for my old friends. The “R” in R. Mordant Mahon is for Riki after all. =)


We live in a society that vacillates between whether or not it is okay for men behave as gentlemen and women to act and expect to be treated like ladies.  In her book Miss Manners’ Guide to Excruciatingly Correct Behavior, Judith Martin says Miss Manners has a puzzling time trying to decide why one courtesy is ‘demeaning’ and another is a ‘gesture of respect,’ and therefore would like to forget the entire symbolic aspect of this ritual. . . .  We agree that the opening and shutting of car doors will not be a test of character or physical strength. . . .”

Get into the practice of opening the car door for her—even if she’s driving.  Not just for her in specific, but all hers.  By doing so, you will set yourself apart—from all other sons, suitors, and spouses.  Walk over to her door and open it for her.  Hold it open until she gets in, and then close it.  Important Safety Tip:  Wait until she’s all the way in to close the door.  (You lose major cool points for catching her or any part of her outfit in the car door.)

If you want to stand out from the rest of your ilk, then make the strong choice to show courtesy—at least in this one aspect.  Make this a part of your regular routine.  It’s not sexist; it’s polite.  Open the door for any woman with which you’re riding.  Do it in spite of strange looks.  Do it no matter how many times she tells you it’s not necessary.  Do it until it feels weird not to.

It doesn’t matter who you are or what walk of life you claim as your own.  From Ivy Leaguer to Inner City Gangsta, you will set yourself at the front of the pack by performing this small courtesy.  You will be remembered.  First as that guy, then as that boyfriend, and then as that husband by all her friends.  If you’re not looking for a mate, then you are that fellow.  No matter what, you’ll be the guy with that special something.  At the end of the day, not a bad way to be remembered.

R. Mordant Mahon


The question keeps coming up: Why do real women drink straight tequila?  The easy answer is “um…well…um…”  Actually, that’s the thing that came to mind when my editor posed this question in preparation for my first interview.  Funny now.  Not so funny then.

Tequila is an opiate, a party-hearty painkiller for the working class stiff in all of us.  Sure, you can pretty it up a bit by drinking the high-end brands or slinging it to and from crystal containers…but in the end, it’s still tequila.  Gut-wrenching, mind-numbing, eye-crossing tequila.  So, why would a woman, real or otherwise, want to throw a splash of this vile nectar past her luscious lips?

Real women drink straight tequila because it makes a statement.  It declares an attitude of someone willing to roll up her sleeves and dig into the mud of whatever needs to get the job done.  She will bleed, she will sweat, she will slog on as the tears stream down her dirt-caked face until whatever is keeping her from what she desires—to have, to be—is out of her fervently feminine way.

In life, in love—wherever she may roam, a real woman drinks straight tequila because she has fought hard to get where she is and be who she is.  From child rearing to running corporations, to placing the necessary bandage on our skinned hearts and knees—do not doubt the power of a woman.  She has earned the right to do whatever she damned well pleases.

R. Mordant Mahon


Every time I bring up the subject of dating to my married and coupled friends, I get blank stares and we’re-out-of-that-game attitude.  Dating is something you should do your entire life.  In other words, it’s not just for singles any more.

A relationship is a living, breathing organism – not unlike a newborn that you must nurture and feed.  You can’t just leave it alone and hope for the best.  If you want your most intimate relationship to bring the best that life has to offer, you have to put in some time and effort.  In fact, you should spend more care cultivating your relationship than you did catching this “big fish” in the first place.  Oh yes, and it should be fun.  This is where Dating comes in – even in the bonds of a relationship.

Have dinner, take a stroll on a hot summer night, picnic in the park – anything as long as it’s the both of you, spending time together.  Don’t let anything get in the way of Date Night.  Nothing is more important than the relationship you will be creating by spending quality time reaching out to the person you call your most Intimate.

Go out on a date with your loved one – your spouse, your fiancé, your boyfriend/girlfriend.  It doesn’t matter what point you’re at in your relationship, you should date.  Intimacy happens when you spend a quantity of time in your love one’s company.  The level of intimacy depends on the quality of that time spent.

R. Mordant Mahon