For the past month or so I’ve launched a webseries entitled Do’Rant. There’s no subject or topic he won’t talk about. Some have been quite confused or worse worried about my mental state. I’m here to set things straight.
For as long as I can remember I’ve had problems being able to speak up about things that were personal or something I valued in life. I was a very active and sociable kid up until about the age of 6, that’s when we moved from Dallas to St. Louis. The move I found very exciting but I was leaving everything and everyone I had know great friends, memories I was starting to make, but I did miss seeing my dad everyday as he was busy traveling and based out St. Louis working for the Defense Department. It was at this time the federal government had approved to take care of a bigger apartment or as it turned out a Hotel Suite at the top of a Best Western in St. Louis so my dad could have his family up here, as he’d be living in a one bedroom apartment the past year. Living in a hotel suite was awesome kind of like Home Alone before Home Alone. Who wouldn’t abuse the indoor pool everyday? After a few months of just living the sweet life, we were enrolled in a public school in downtown St. Louis. I was excited for something new, making new friends, etc. Unfortunately the welcoming committee at Carrollton Oaks didn’t have a red carpet rolled out for us, I still remember the 1st time getting on the bus that had to drive up the parking garage to get to us, and getting on just seeing every angry face and just sitting down next to my brother quietly. Things take time my brother let me know, in the course of a week though things only got better for my brother who was making a lot of friends, I on the other hand received my first punch to my face causing a bloody nose, and my brother having to take on a role as a protector, unfortunately my brother couldn’t be there all the time. My speech problem had been developing, I didn’t know what incursive was, and it didn’t help that the state of Texas and my folks the previous year forced me to become righthanded, yup I’m a southpaw, or was, so my handwriting was really sloppy, except in print. This nightmare would continue for only a few months as my folks had found a house in the suburbs, a place to raise a family as the city was deteriorating with high crime rates and the city schools weren’t safe either.
My brother and I then went on to Fairmount Elementary. Once again no red carpet for the new kid in my class, as there were no unused desks besides Jonathan, who just happened to be the most well liked kid in class and had broken his arm and was out for a month. So you can just wonder how the kids felt getting me to replace Jonathan, especially within the first week, my teacher and folks had agreed to start putting me in speech class due to my problems with words like crayon, or even trying to say my parents were Egyptian and saying Gypsie, and my teacher had felt bad seeing my peers making fun of me constantly. Quietly I sat.
2nd grade got better, I got moved into a new cycle, so new kids to grow up with, there I met a couple of kids who were quite nice, Alex, Ryan and Jeff. I was starting to crack the shell of shyness, but I was also getting in trouble because my voice carried and when you’re in 2nd grade and you’ve barely spoken that much, have a speech problem, the last thing you need is teachers writing you up, giving you recess detentions, and having parent/teacher conferences for talking when talking was permitted it was just my voice was loud, it’s amazing how teachers never realized my dad’s voice also carried, still to this day people think he’s yelling when he’s talking. So here’s how my mindset was if I’m quiet I won’t get to socialize but I also won’t get in trouble, if I talk I’m having fun, but then I get in trouble, or get made fun of.
Sports were becoming my refuge, a way to release the frustration without having to say anything. Most kids dream of being the star scoring the winning basket, hitting a homerun, or kicking in the deciding goal. I was enjoying defense in every sport, probably because my hand eye coordination was off you know with the whole moving from being left handed, left foot dominant to my right side, but if I was planted and could focus on someone attacking me I had found I could stop them, along with the person trying to score was someone that put you down verbally just brought even more satisfaction to me.
This went on for a few years, have a few close friends in school, but my neighborhood was also becoming a flourishing neighborhood with many kids around my age which really helped, all the families started becoming close even with differences that some of these neighbors had against minorities as the midwestern racism had been showcased when African American neighbors had just moved out when we moved in and the neighborhood rejoiced, their suspicions of Sam our Korean neighbor who was one of the nicest men in the hood, the lesbians at the end of the street next to the bus stop that neighbors were giving us all warnings to stay away from them at all costs, and us, my dad doesn’t do things by the book, why would he. The book he was writing was a unique one, he’d been raised like my mom on a farm in Egypt, held down even with higher education, faced religious persecution, had to serve in the Egyptian Army, and came to America the first in his family, and had become successful on his own, even though many tried putting him down. My dad constantly everyday drilling in to our heads that people will try doing this type of stuff to you and that you need to stand up for yourself. To be tough, to be a man who used his brain and stood up for what’s right.
5th grade, I was getting older, I was feeling normal although I still faced the daily gauntlet of what should we do to Shawki today, oh yeah I forgot from 2nd grade on though my entire public school education I had no first name, my parents named me after the angel Michael, they had wanted Paul but after 2 miscarriages and a cousin being named Paul I was Michael thank god I thought since it would’ve been Peter, Paul, and Mary. Unfortunately in the 80’s many parents were unoriginal or had caught on to the popular craze of naming their boys Michael, what made things worse I had 3-4 other Michael’s in my class including the last 3 years also having another fellow Michael S, and teachers got tired of hearing both of us sometimes in unison answer so the two’s S’s went by last names. While every kid was called by their first name, him and me were just one namers, out on the playground he’d be called Michael or Mike still, me Shawki. Sure I had thought it’s nice that Speech Shawki was no longer a nickname, but I had just wanted to be called my first name like so many other people are, as being called Shawki was starting to showcase how dumb people were, like Shawki what’s your last name? I didn’t look ethnic, but people I guess assumed that because my parents were foreign I should have all foreign names. Calling my house is Shawki there? You’d be thinking making fun of people for how dumb they were or being disrespectful was great for me but it would just stir up more shit. So 5th grade two things occurred, one morning I was in a rush to get ready and had just put on a shirt in the living room, along with my brother in the room checking to see the weather outside. Within the time it took for a busride to school and into class, a rumor was being spread that my brother molested me. This wasn’t the first time a rumor like this spread as my speech teacher had molested a few of the kids in class, and ended class, let kids roam free with a topic even if they don’t know what molesting means. I heard a good buddy saying this to a classmate while sitting at my desk, I flipped my desk over and just went straight for him shoving him into the wall, and going what the fuck did you say about me and my brother, I had just gotten sick and tired of this already in 5th grade, a lot of stress for a kid to have defend himself, sure my dad did this type of stuff on a daily basis in Egypt, but come on in the suburbs of the Midwest. I got a few detentions for this, my brother embarassed as he was called down to his high school principal to discuss this and our parents were called. My “friend” one detention. I started reading through others bullshit and didn’t like it one bit. Then we got a new kid Bryan Sherman, I remembered how it felt to be new, I was nice to the kid while the others studied him to see if he was cool or not to talk to, Well Bryan was later classified as cool once he started dead legging me, flicking me in my ear, constantly. Unfortunately, tattling was frowned upon and usually got a lecture from the teacher saying no one likes a tattle tale, and the aggressor would be allowed to carry on this behavior. Still to this day I’m boggled by this lesson, and we wonder why bullying still occurs, simpleton bullshit.
6th grade it got really worse, my teacher had a son in who was my brothers age, they played bball together, ran track together, and also were competing for the science fair regionals. It was around this point my teacher brought in another teacher (my brothers’s 6th grade teacher Mrs. Lewis) to teach us origami. When she was leaving our teacher went “What do we say to Mrs. Lewis” As we were all saying thank you, I sneezed while saying it, the kids laughed, and Mrs. Lewis flipped out on me “Son one day you’ll learn to respect people” where my teacher went to our board where you’d get a warning slip or recess detention, she grabbed a red slip and put it in my pocket. The next day I got back from a grueling amount of tests and found out I had severe allergies, I told my mom what happened, and she had a one on one talk with my teacher, where it seemed my teacher backed down but I already had served my detention. The Shawki family would prevail in the end as my brother would go on to beating Kyle in the science fair and make it all the way to nationals the first of 2 years in which he won scholarship money.
7th grade - One of my teachers had us reading a book “Golden Goblet” and thought what better thing to have my mom come in and speak to her classes about Egypt. If it’s one thing kids enjoy more then not learning, it’s those who have parents who get involved. The icing on the cake, a quiz we had done on the book got a grade of F, there’s no way the Egyptian kid fails this, I brought this up to my teacher who claimed no mistake was done and the grade was final. I told my mom and dad who had a talk with her, who immediately found the mistake was my grade along with Tamika’s grade were switched. I received a one one one later about being able to come up to her whenever I was concerned about something, yeah that’s what I did, weren’t you listening to me? Then there was the time in shop class my buddy Neal and me were goofing around and laughing at how much varnish I had been putting on my clock. This kid Blake tried pulling Neal’s drum clock out of his hands and soon the clock would clock me in the nose, this time a lot of blood came out, I went to nurse’s office and was told everything would be ok. Later on in the day I got called to the principal’s office who gave Blake, Neal and I all 5 detentions, both Neal and my mom called discussing why the two kids who were getting picked on. If it’s one thing I’ve learned no one likes to rescind a punishment they’ve already administered.
High School- Getting accused of being the Unashitter (see earlier posting), getting physically abused constantly during my American History Honors class by nerdy guys, I don’t think any kid could break the record of number of times getting pushed forward in a desk and falling or getting hit with a book in the back of the head and then told to quit whiining when I say “You fucking quit doing this shit to me”, or graduating and my teacher Mrs. Clemens who thought people about diversity went out of her way to ask me how to say my whole name “Michael Fahmi Shawki” I think it’s my middle name she would want to know considering everyone called me by last name, I sound out all 3 names, what do I get called “Michael Fahmi….Socki” and the countless other things I’ve already mentioned on here about high school.
College - The thing I had been looking forward to the fresh start I had wanted, I went there for Summer Orientation and the first thing we all heard was to make it a memorable experience, to be who you wanted to be. That was when I was going to be called Mike/Michael from now on, later on in the day we got partnered up and I got partnered with a kid I had gone to high school with and we’re sitting in a group where you had to tell something about your parenter, so travis and me are sitting he’s telling me what’ his interests are, and when it comes to me, he cuts me off and goes oh we’re telling everyone you’ve been stabbed, I had been stabbed at 17, at this point in life I wasn’t comfortable at all mentioning this, and something I was still coping with and trying to forget, so I tell him let’s talk about anything else like favorite teams or even my folks being Egyptian, what’s Travis mention and shock the circle with Yeah me being stabbed. So I try to forget this first day moving in I’m looking forward to being called Michael, no longer just Shawki, I’m introducing myself to people on the floor, that night about 10 people know me by Michael, what’s my roommate tell people to call me, Shawki which immediately is a hit. Not to mention ex’s #2, #3 not listening to how I said I didn’t want to jump into a relationship because of getting cheated on, then telling me they wouldn’t do that, and then cheating one me.
Jobs - There’s the dreaded task of being a manager and having to fire someone, something I’ve had to do countless times, not a very fun thing to do. Compared to most managers I’ve had I cut a lot of slack had one one one discussing issues and telling them I really needed them to work on these right away, I’d get an ok, and the problem would persist, so when firing someone I’d get “This is BS, we never talked about this” Did you just not listen to me when I was trying to help you and letting you know what would occur if this issue still lingered.
You’d be thinking stand up comedy would be fine, but even then I’ve had issues, like during one set I got a guy who was friends with another comic stand up during my set, and take his hand to his throat and say “I’m going to kill you” I was still new, so I said “Shut the fuck up” constantly with each repeated threat, that became my set for the next 2 minutes, with the crowd laughing as I even told them to shut the fuck up as I didn’t take this fondly. It turned out an assumption that I was dating this comics ex because I was hanging out with her brother was the basis for this, when in reality we went to high school together, and were working together and drinking buddies, and never even met his sister. This guy would then assume even after telling him about me cheated on by all of my ex’s that I’d be fine covering his ass for cheating on his girlfriend whom I did meet, not to douchebags, I’ll never do this shit for you. You can try claiming some bs like guy code but the only code I believe in is being at least a decent human being who would never put anyone through pain. Do I really need to repeat this type of stuff. Then there was those comedians who never listened to me saying no either it be a request to give them a ride home, which came close to 50 times of saying no with me becoming more and more mad that I was even being hassled by someone who I knew very much didn’t like me, talked shit about me, so he stalks me and then around a corner chokes me against a wall, luckily a great friend saved me. Then there was the comic who wanted to fuck some girl on my couch, I don’t know how you feel about people just fucking on things you have to sit on, and tell the guy you’re fine to come home but I don’t want some girl you picked up in my place. It started an altercation with him yelling and then eventually drunk driving into a parking lot of a dealership, when if he just listened to me could’ve come inside crashed on the couch but I guess with me people must have their way all the time.
So this stuff would continue but stand up comedy became an outlet for me as I was now becoming more personal with my material, even choosing to move to New York about 5 years ago and being told by people to not move, or that was the wrong decision even when I never asked them how they felt about me moving.
I’ve heard every type of diss, insult, hate speech directed at me. None hurt more then the assumptions revolving around the UCB controversy, one was I mad about being cancelled when it was having great turnouts not sold out everytime but for a show that was constantly moving around nights and times to be flexible and then at a midnight spot that was skipped a month for no reason given, it was doing well. After the show was cancelled the aftermath was crazy, notice the blog went up almost a month after being cancelled, I only wanted to speak of how hurt I was, the reasons for the cancellation, the way it was done, and for the reason because of a comment that was the very truth. After it went up, I actually had a phone call with Matt Besser, yes I called him and we discussed everything, although he was unaware of the situation and that the number of attendees for the show were constantly wrong as I was being told 10, 13, 9, were the tickets when the show was packed, not of improver’s or comps as my comps always stayed with us in the greenroom. I was really getting tired of arguing about something I had been paying attention to but so be it. We agreed to disagree with the show not given a chance to come back but a possibility to fire a tech which I already hated firing people and getting fired myself, I wasn’t wanting someone’s job eliminated I just wanted a straight up answer, I never got although after shows there’d be lectures of cleaning up while already cleaning up, or the way I was running my own show. Once that blog went up everyone associated with comedy spoke up, never once did anyone reach out to Jeff or me, I should’ve revised the blog at the time but it wouldn’t have mattered as it’d been shared many times, with every accusation in the book, that I was doing this to become famous, trust me this isn’t what I wanted to be known for, my efforts at the time were pursuing the XXX industry. Sure it was nice taking a stand for something I found wrong and had already seen other great shows cancelled from there as well, people would say the tickets for $5 were a lie, yet they were always $5, some implied no audience or that the show got cancelled, never once was it cancelled, and lack of audience would only occur maybe towards the end of show going past 1 am. This was when I saw there was no community as I always hear mentioned because of some of the blogs ending with hoping something bad happening to me when at this very time I was posting up pictures of a someone going through another major surgery, oh you want me to die, oh look I feel like I am dying, let me hit this morphine drip more to numb the pain person I don’t know, or even people I looked up to discussing mental health issues and not realizing that the person they spoke ill of was also dealing with mental health issues as I had seriously pondered suicide just that past September or any of the issues of stabbing, ex’s cheating on me, and the hate I already was getting without this issue. I never really had a chance to speak up for myself as I was physically and mentally out of it.
It was around this time during therapy I had wanted to own up to who I always strived to be to be like my father. Everywhere I looked I saw people getting oppressed, whether it be a small issue or the uprisings in the Middle East including Egypt and still to present day with Ukraine and Venezuela, along with the things I have to deal with personally, and people’s treatment. All the time someone told me to shut up and realizing they had no right whatsoever, that my opinion and thoughts mattered to me and really wanted to get my view out but not done like I was channeling a young Mickey Rooney. I was getting tired of hearing others express their opinions and then writing my view and then seeing someone either make fun of a posting I made in all seriousness, or being told TL/DR, or worse try invalidating my opinion like I don’t get to share my point of view even about issues that mean so much to me, or that affected me personally. To have an opinion on something that brings me joy like a band, a movie, and told I’m wrong, it’s an opinion, Do’Rant was born and all of the people mentioned above have helped create a character who won’t take shit like I, Michael Shawki, have done since I was 5 years old and have the past year or so let others know I’m done with it, the shit taking.
So next time you’re slamming someone you don’t know, also realize you’re not doing anything positive for the world, and most likely are very wrong about. Think before you speak was something teachers used to tell me when I was younger thinking this would correct my speech problem, maybe some of you simpletons, buffoons, peasants, bozos, morons, paupers should be taking this lesson to heart. Do’Rant is willing to take on any subject, any person, any group, he’ll stand up for those he holds dear to his heart and isn’t afraid to give you a dose of your own medicine while cutting you down to size.
Here’s a link to a special episode of Do’Rant
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