#143 - A Conversation with Ki

July 20, 2022

While I was out doing street interviews in the city, I came across a man named Ki and I asked him some questions about life in the USA.

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Ki: [00:00:00] Tell me what I can't say here?

Tony Kaizen: [00:00:01] There's nothing you can't say, I promise.

Zac (cameraman): [00:00:03] There ain't nothing off-limits, brother.

Ki: [00:00:04] Okay, fuck it.

Tony Kaizen: [00:00:05] 100% uncensored. This is America, after all. You know what I'm saying?

Ki: [00:00:16] Okay, what you got?

Tony Kaizen: [00:00:16] Alright, we're good? Let's do it, man. Alright so, what's your name?

Ki: [00:00:19] Ki.

Tony Kaizen: [00:00:19] Ki. Alright, so the first question we got for you is, when you hear the term the American Dream, what comes to mind? What does that mean to you?

Ki: [00:00:25] It's kind of antiquated. It depends on the person. The dream is a dream. I mean it's just a dream. It's not necessarily a reality. It's a dream, to most.

Tony Kaizen: [00:00:35] To most. Who are you referring to when you say, "to most people"?

Ki: [00:00:37] Hmm just regular people. Not...the dream is only to people that can attain it. Like people with money, people with means, those are the only people that can really, truly attain that American dream. Most of the people are gonna be normal. So is that really a dream or is that just living?

Tony Kaizen: [00:00:54] Now, when you think of the dream, are you thinking about, like, possessions, about status, money? What does the dream actually mean?

Ki: [00:00:59] The dream is being able to control your life and control how you live it. Most of the time you're being controlled by work or something else. Yeah.

Tony Kaizen: [00:01:07] And do you think that most people, you kind of said this earlier, but do you think most people don't even have a chance to achieve that dream?

Ki: [00:01:15] I think if they work hard, but it takes work. People aren't willing to put the work in to attain some of the things that they want. So most of the time, people don't get it because they don't work for it, or they don't try. This shit ain't easy.

Tony Kaizen: [00:01:29] Yeah. Do you think it's just hard work that you need? Or maybe something else?

Ki: [00:01:32] Shit, you need some luck. Luck happens for everybody. Yeah. You need some fortune. Luck and fortune. Fortune not in money, but fortune in opportunity.

Tony Kaizen: [00:01:40] Right, right, right. Yeah. Now, we do know this as, like the land of opportunity as well. Do you think that this country in particular has more opportunities than others?

Ki: [00:01:48] Yeah. Absolutely. Absolutely. First world problems. Yeah. First world situation. So other parts of the world, you don't have those opportunities. There is no middle class in most of the world. We have a middle class.

Tony Kaizen: [00:01:59] So sticking with the topic of the US, like, what are some things that you love about this country?

Ki: [00:02:05] This. Us. I mean, I see a white dude. I see...I don't know what the fuck he is, but he's cool. And you're a black dude, obviously. It's like a whole bunch of shit, and I like it.

Tony Kaizen: [00:02:15] Yeah. Melting pot, right?

Ki: [00:02:15] Yeah, it's a melting pot. So you guys all can...you may not always agree, but we...we're right here in this conversation. So yeah, yeah.

Tony Kaizen: [00:02:22] Okay, now, what are some things that you hate or wish were different or could be better about the US?

Ki: [00:02:29] Hmmm...Every...Oh shiii...That's a good question. That's a very, very good question. That's a very hard question to think about. Umm I think what I don't like about this country is, umm...the, the lies that the country...the lies that we live in. Social media is a big lie. All the things that we exist in are mainly about image and how you look, not how you are, who you are. So the country is about appearance and not who you are.

Tony Kaizen: [00:03:00] Keeping up with the Joneses.

Ki: [00:03:01] Yeah. Keeping up with the Joneses. Keeping up with appearances. Looking fly and not being fly. Being responsible. You know?

Tony Kaizen: [00:03:07] Yeah, that's a good one. Okay, so this next question is not related to the US, a little more personal. If all the jobs and professions in the world paid the exact same and you were prepared to do them, let's say starting tomorrow, what job would you do?

Ki: [00:03:20] If all the jobs paid the same? Umm, therapist?

Tony Kaizen: [00:03:23] Really? Why?

Ki: [00:03:25] Hmm because I think I like the psychology of people and helping people.

Tony Kaizen: [00:03:27] Yeah. I mean, you say therapist. You mean like sitting in the office and talking one on one?

Ki: [00:03:31] Yeah. Clinical...clinical therapist or something like that.

Tony Kaizen: [00:03:34] Okay, yeah. What's your background?

Ki: [00:03:35] Art.

Tony Kaizen: [00:03:36] What kind of art? What do you mean?

Ki: [00:03:38] Art director. So yeah.

Tony Kaizen: [00:03:40] Okay. Psychology, in a way. When you think about it.

Ki: [00:03:43] Yeah. Yeah, I'm solving a...I'm solving a creative problem. Yeah.

Tony Kaizen: [00:03:46] Nice. Now, how old are you?

Ki: [00:03:48] 45.

Tony Kaizen: [00:03:49] 45. So let's say you could go back to like 21 or maybe 18 years old and give your younger self some advice, what would you tell him?

Ki: [00:03:56] I'll slap the shit out of myself.

Tony Kaizen: [00:03:57] Why would you slap him?

Ki: [00:03:59] Oh, cos he fucking stupid. I was a fucking idiot.

Tony Kaizen: [00:04:03] Yeah. What's that? What stupid stuff are you doing back then?

Ki: [00:04:06] Can't say it on this one. Nah uh! Some things don't have a statute of limitations.

Tony Kaizen: [00:04:12] 'Nuff said, 'nuff said. We're going to skip right over that one. Alright, alright. So the last one is, what are some things that maybe when people first meet you or get a first impression of you, that they assume but are certainly not true?

Ki's wife: [00:04:23] He's a dick!

Ki: [00:04:25] That is true. They assume that I'm an asshole. They assume that I'm an asshole. That's the first impression that they get. Probably right. But after you get to know me, probably not an asshole, fully. But if I go asshole, I go full asshole. I won't go half-ass.

Tony Kaizen: [00:04:41] 0 to 100.

Ki: [00:04:42] Yeah I go, I'm always...I'm fully invested in being an asshole.

Tony Kaizen: [00:04:45] Okay. Now, why do you think people assume that about you, though?

Ki: [00:04:48] Cos I'm extremely direct and I don't have...I don't suffer fools gladly. I'm extraordinarily direct.

Tony Kaizen: [00:04:53] What do you mean by that, "You don't suffer fools gladly"? What does that mean?

Ki: [00:04:55] I don't like stupid shit. I don't like stupid people. I mean, it's stupid in regards of...you can be oblivious, but willful...willful idiots bother me. Umm so yeah, willful idiots bother me. Very simple.

Tony Kaizen: [00:05:12] Do you think in general, going back to the American culture thing, that we're not very direct people in general and that's why people assume...

Ki: [00:05:19] You'll cancel. I would get canceled if I was on TV. I'm not politically correct at all. I'm 40. I'm a...I'm a 45 year old black man. I've experienced so much dumb shit that you would not expect so political correctness doesn't really work for me very well because I think people need a harsh...a direct message to change. Because if you tell them nice, they don't listen anyway, they complain about it so...why be nice? Be honest.

Tony Kaizen: [00:05:45] Now you're much older than me, so you probably have a better memory of, let's say, 30 or 40 years ago. Do you think that even back then the whole political correctness thing was a big part of our culture and society? Or that's recent?

Ki: [00:05:56] Not at all. It's recent. It's recent. It's recent because you sit...we would sit in these echo chambers now. Social media is a lot of echo chambers where everybody with a like mind can agree. Everybody with a like mind can totally agree.

Tony Kaizen: [00:06:09] It sounds like you're really not happy with the effects that social media has had on society and our culture.

Ki: [00:06:15] I love social media. I think it's a necessary thing. I just think that we should still be open to listening to others and conversing with others and being wrong. We should be... Nobody can be wrong. We don't like to be wrong...when somebody is wrong, it's like a mob mentality. Somebody disagrees...any disagreement is met with mob mentality so I may not agree with whatever the fuck he is over there, but...but he seems like a cool guy and we can disagree on shit but, you know, different shit, right?

Tony Kaizen: [00:06:46] Right. Do you think that is something that's unique to us or maybe around the world they're kind of feeling the same effects?

Ki: [00:06:52] It depends on the part of the world, Europe, maybe certain parts of Europe. Umm first world problems, first world problems. Other people are trying to get running water, trying to get access to water. They're not worried about...they're not worried about shit. I personally don't give a shit about disagreeing with you when we've got $9 dozen eggs, so we need to get along.

Tony Kaizen: [00:07:13] How do you think that happens?

Ki: [00:07:15] Umm while we're worried about other shit, inflation happens because they can. Nobody's paying attention to that so...effectively.

Tony Kaizen: [00:07:25] But in terms of like, people coming together and understanding each other a little bit more, where do you think that starts? What do we need to change or do differently?

Ki: [00:07:32] We need to start by being okay with disagreeing with each other.

Ki's wife: [00:07:37] I totally see that being...

Ki: [00:07:39] Yeah. I'm going to start with being okay with the disagreement and listening to each other and stop yelling. If you listen to somebody and stop yelling, then it'll be better.

Tony Kaizen: [00:07:49] So give people the chance to explain where they're coming from and teach you how they think.

Ki: [00:07:52] Yeah, where they are. Instead of forcing people to be where you are, meeting them where they are, and being okay with them, staying where they are, even if you disagree.

Tony Kaizen: [00:07:59] Right, right. Now, do you see this changing or getting any better in the future?

Ki: [00:08:03] Oh, it's not getting better. It's only getting worse because more people are disagreeing. More people are forming these extreme opinions where they're not wrong. They're always right.

Tony Kaizen: [00:08:12] You really think there's no...where does this go, though? If it's getting worse and worse, where do you think this ends up?

Ki: [00:08:17] Umm it's going to a place where...if you...if you forget the past, you're doomed to repeat it so...I could...I don't want to say...I don't want to say yeah, yeah...I saw your (eye)brows. I don't want to say that. But it could be, when people sit in these places and when you start to call people out and say that they're wrong, they are... Then you start to try to justify why they shouldn't exist. And that becomes an extreme way of thinking.

Tony Kaizen: [00:08:41] Especially with the technology and weapons we have at our disposal these days.

Ki: [00:08:44] Exactly. Exactly.

Tony Kaizen: [00:08:45] Now, let me ask you this. Speaking of that, we're not going to use the word, but in the worst case scenario, things go all the way to the…to the worst possible scenario. Would you feel some sense of like, duty or responsibility, to get involved and maybe fight for your country or anything of that nature?

Ki: [00:09:03] No, no. If I needed to fight for my country, I would. But...the duty to fight for what, though? I would have to have a purpose. I'm a purpose person. So if there's...if there's no purpose in it, why do it? I need to understand. I need understanding for the purpose...what we'd be fighting for, why we'd be fighting.

Tony Kaizen: [00:09:22] So, as an American, you don't really feel like, as an American, you have some type of, like, duty to stand up for Americans?

Ki: [00:09:28] Absolutely. I do. Absolutely. See, that's where I would have to understand. I mean, my time has passed on the fighting for the country part. I mean, the only reason I didn't fight for this country is because I had an injury, a major injury. So that's the only reason.

Tony Kaizen: [00:09:42] What injury, if you don't mind me asking?

Ki: [00:09:43] Umm ACL, ACL.

Tony Kaizen: [00:09:45] How did you do that?

Ki: [00:09:46] Umm playing baseball. So.

Tony Kaizen: [00:09:49] Okay, I see the shirt. So you're a big baseball fan?

Ki: [00:09:51] I played a little bit. A little bit.

Tony Kaizen: [00:09:53] Yeah. I got you. Alright, it was Ki, right? Alright, we appreciate you, man. Thank you so much for your opinion.

Ki: [00:09:58] Hey man...what are...you going? Where's it gon' be?

Tony Kaizen: [00:09:59] On YouTube. Let me share the…

[END OF EPISODE]

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Ki: [00:00:00] Tell me what I can't say here?

Tony Kaizen: [00:00:01] There's nothing you can't say, I promise.

Zac (cameraman): [00:00:03] There ain't nothing off-limits, brother.

Ki: [00:00:04] Okay, fuck it.

Tony Kaizen: [00:00:05] 100% uncensored. This is America, after all. You know what I'm saying?

Ki: [00:00:16] Okay, what you got?

Tony Kaizen: [00:00:16] Alright, we're good? Let's do it, man. Alright so, what's your name?

Ki: [00:00:19] Ki.

Tony Kaizen: [00:00:19] Ki. Alright, so the first question we got for you is, when you hear the term the American Dream, what comes to mind? What does that mean to you?

Ki: [00:00:25] It's kind of antiquated. It depends on the person. The dream is a dream. I mean it's just a dream. It's not necessarily a reality. It's a dream, to most.

Tony Kaizen: [00:00:35] To most. Who are you referring to when you say, "to most people"?

Ki: [00:00:37] Hmm just regular people. Not...the dream is only to people that can attain it. Like people with money, people with means, those are the only people that can really, truly attain that American dream. Most of the people are gonna be normal. So is that really a dream or is that just living?

Tony Kaizen: [00:00:54] Now, when you think of the dream, are you thinking about, like, possessions, about status, money? What does the dream actually mean?

Ki: [00:00:59] The dream is being able to control your life and control how you live it. Most of the time you're being controlled by work or something else. Yeah.

Tony Kaizen: [00:01:07] And do you think that most people, you kind of said this earlier, but do you think most people don't even have a chance to achieve that dream?

Ki: [00:01:15] I think if they work hard, but it takes work. People aren't willing to put the work in to attain some of the things that they want. So most of the time, people don't get it because they don't work for it, or they don't try. This shit ain't easy.

Tony Kaizen: [00:01:29] Yeah. Do you think it's just hard work that you need? Or maybe something else?

Ki: [00:01:32] Shit, you need some luck. Luck happens for everybody. Yeah. You need some fortune. Luck and fortune. Fortune not in money, but fortune in opportunity.

Tony Kaizen: [00:01:40] Right, right, right. Yeah. Now, we do know this as, like the land of opportunity as well. Do you think that this country in particular has more opportunities than others?

Ki: [00:01:48] Yeah. Absolutely. Absolutely. First world problems. Yeah. First world situation. So other parts of the world, you don't have those opportunities. There is no middle class in most of the world. We have a middle class.

Tony Kaizen: [00:01:59] So sticking with the topic of the US, like, what are some things that you love about this country?

Ki: [00:02:05] This. Us. I mean, I see a white dude. I see...I don't know what the fuck he is, but he's cool. And you're a black dude, obviously. It's like a whole bunch of shit, and I like it.

Tony Kaizen: [00:02:15] Yeah. Melting pot, right?

Ki: [00:02:15] Yeah, it's a melting pot. So you guys all can...you may not always agree, but we...we're right here in this conversation. So yeah, yeah.

Tony Kaizen: [00:02:22] Okay, now, what are some things that you hate or wish were different or could be better about the US?

Ki: [00:02:29] Hmmm...Every...Oh shiii...That's a good question. That's a very, very good question. That's a very hard question to think about. Umm I think what I don't like about this country is, umm...the, the lies that the country...the lies that we live in. Social media is a big lie. All the things that we exist in are mainly about image and how you look, not how you are, who you are. So the country is about appearance and not who you are.

Tony Kaizen: [00:03:00] Keeping up with the Joneses.

Ki: [00:03:01] Yeah. Keeping up with the Joneses. Keeping up with appearances. Looking fly and not being fly. Being responsible. You know?

Tony Kaizen: [00:03:07] Yeah, that's a good one. Okay, so this next question is not related to the US, a little more personal. If all the jobs and professions in the world paid the exact same and you were prepared to do them, let's say starting tomorrow, what job would you do?

Ki: [00:03:20] If all the jobs paid the same? Umm, therapist?

Tony Kaizen: [00:03:23] Really? Why?

Ki: [00:03:25] Hmm because I think I like the psychology of people and helping people.

Tony Kaizen: [00:03:27] Yeah. I mean, you say therapist. You mean like sitting in the office and talking one on one?

Ki: [00:03:31] Yeah. Clinical...clinical therapist or something like that.

Tony Kaizen: [00:03:34] Okay, yeah. What's your background?

Ki: [00:03:35] Art.

Tony Kaizen: [00:03:36] What kind of art? What do you mean?

Ki: [00:03:38] Art director. So yeah.

Tony Kaizen: [00:03:40] Okay. Psychology, in a way. When you think about it.

Ki: [00:03:43] Yeah. Yeah, I'm solving a...I'm solving a creative problem. Yeah.

Tony Kaizen: [00:03:46] Nice. Now, how old are you?

Ki: [00:03:48] 45.

Tony Kaizen: [00:03:49] 45. So let's say you could go back to like 21 or maybe 18 years old and give your younger self some advice, what would you tell him?

Ki: [00:03:56] I'll slap the shit out of myself.

Tony Kaizen: [00:03:57] Why would you slap him?

Ki: [00:03:59] Oh, cos he fucking stupid. I was a fucking idiot.

Tony Kaizen: [00:04:03] Yeah. What's that? What stupid stuff are you doing back then?

Ki: [00:04:06] Can't say it on this one. Nah uh! Some things don't have a statute of limitations.

Tony Kaizen: [00:04:12] 'Nuff said, 'nuff said. We're going to skip right over that one. Alright, alright. So the last one is, what are some things that maybe when people first meet you or get a first impression of you, that they assume but are certainly not true?

Ki's wife: [00:04:23] He's a dick!

Ki: [00:04:25] That is true. They assume that I'm an asshole. They assume that I'm an asshole. That's the first impression that they get. Probably right. But after you get to know me, probably not an asshole, fully. But if I go asshole, I go full asshole. I won't go half-ass.

Tony Kaizen: [00:04:41] 0 to 100.

Ki: [00:04:42] Yeah I go, I'm always...I'm fully invested in being an asshole.

Tony Kaizen: [00:04:45] Okay. Now, why do you think people assume that about you, though?

Ki: [00:04:48] Cos I'm extremely direct and I don't have...I don't suffer fools gladly. I'm extraordinarily direct.

Tony Kaizen: [00:04:53] What do you mean by that, "You don't suffer fools gladly"? What does that mean?

Ki: [00:04:55] I don't like stupid shit. I don't like stupid people. I mean, it's stupid in regards of...you can be oblivious, but willful...willful idiots bother me. Umm so yeah, willful idiots bother me. Very simple.

Tony Kaizen: [00:05:12] Do you think in general, going back to the American culture thing, that we're not very direct people in general and that's why people assume...

Ki: [00:05:19] You'll cancel. I would get canceled if I was on TV. I'm not politically correct at all. I'm 40. I'm a...I'm a 45 year old black man. I've experienced so much dumb shit that you would not expect so political correctness doesn't really work for me very well because I think people need a harsh...a direct message to change. Because if you tell them nice, they don't listen anyway, they complain about it so...why be nice? Be honest.

Tony Kaizen: [00:05:45] Now you're much older than me, so you probably have a better memory of, let's say, 30 or 40 years ago. Do you think that even back then the whole political correctness thing was a big part of our culture and society? Or that's recent?

Ki: [00:05:56] Not at all. It's recent. It's recent. It's recent because you sit...we would sit in these echo chambers now. Social media is a lot of echo chambers where everybody with a like mind can agree. Everybody with a like mind can totally agree.

Tony Kaizen: [00:06:09] It sounds like you're really not happy with the effects that social media has had on society and our culture.

Ki: [00:06:15] I love social media. I think it's a necessary thing. I just think that we should still be open to listening to others and conversing with others and being wrong. We should be... Nobody can be wrong. We don't like to be wrong...when somebody is wrong, it's like a mob mentality. Somebody disagrees...any disagreement is met with mob mentality so I may not agree with whatever the fuck he is over there, but...but he seems like a cool guy and we can disagree on shit but, you know, different shit, right?

Tony Kaizen: [00:06:46] Right. Do you think that is something that's unique to us or maybe around the world they're kind of feeling the same effects?

Ki: [00:06:52] It depends on the part of the world, Europe, maybe certain parts of Europe. Umm first world problems, first world problems. Other people are trying to get running water, trying to get access to water. They're not worried about...they're not worried about shit. I personally don't give a shit about disagreeing with you when we've got $9 dozen eggs, so we need to get along.

Tony Kaizen: [00:07:13] How do you think that happens?

Ki: [00:07:15] Umm while we're worried about other shit, inflation happens because they can. Nobody's paying attention to that so...effectively.

Tony Kaizen: [00:07:25] But in terms of like, people coming together and understanding each other a little bit more, where do you think that starts? What do we need to change or do differently?

Ki: [00:07:32] We need to start by being okay with disagreeing with each other.

Ki's wife: [00:07:37] I totally see that being...

Ki: [00:07:39] Yeah. I'm going to start with being okay with the disagreement and listening to each other and stop yelling. If you listen to somebody and stop yelling, then it'll be better.

Tony Kaizen: [00:07:49] So give people the chance to explain where they're coming from and teach you how they think.

Ki: [00:07:52] Yeah, where they are. Instead of forcing people to be where you are, meeting them where they are, and being okay with them, staying where they are, even if you disagree.

Tony Kaizen: [00:07:59] Right, right. Now, do you see this changing or getting any better in the future?

Ki: [00:08:03] Oh, it's not getting better. It's only getting worse because more people are disagreeing. More people are forming these extreme opinions where they're not wrong. They're always right.

Tony Kaizen: [00:08:12] You really think there's no...where does this go, though? If it's getting worse and worse, where do you think this ends up?

Ki: [00:08:17] Umm it's going to a place where...if you...if you forget the past, you're doomed to repeat it so...I could...I don't want to say...I don't want to say yeah, yeah...I saw your (eye)brows. I don't want to say that. But it could be, when people sit in these places and when you start to call people out and say that they're wrong, they are... Then you start to try to justify why they shouldn't exist. And that becomes an extreme way of thinking.

Tony Kaizen: [00:08:41] Especially with the technology and weapons we have at our disposal these days.

Ki: [00:08:44] Exactly. Exactly.

Tony Kaizen: [00:08:45] Now, let me ask you this. Speaking of that, we're not going to use the word, but in the worst case scenario, things go all the way to the…to the worst possible scenario. Would you feel some sense of like, duty or responsibility, to get involved and maybe fight for your country or anything of that nature?

Ki: [00:09:03] No, no. If I needed to fight for my country, I would. But...the duty to fight for what, though? I would have to have a purpose. I'm a purpose person. So if there's...if there's no purpose in it, why do it? I need to understand. I need understanding for the purpose...what we'd be fighting for, why we'd be fighting.

Tony Kaizen: [00:09:22] So, as an American, you don't really feel like, as an American, you have some type of, like, duty to stand up for Americans?

Ki: [00:09:28] Absolutely. I do. Absolutely. See, that's where I would have to understand. I mean, my time has passed on the fighting for the country part. I mean, the only reason I didn't fight for this country is because I had an injury, a major injury. So that's the only reason.

Tony Kaizen: [00:09:42] What injury, if you don't mind me asking?

Ki: [00:09:43] Umm ACL, ACL.

Tony Kaizen: [00:09:45] How did you do that?

Ki: [00:09:46] Umm playing baseball. So.

Tony Kaizen: [00:09:49] Okay, I see the shirt. So you're a big baseball fan?

Ki: [00:09:51] I played a little bit. A little bit.

Tony Kaizen: [00:09:53] Yeah. I got you. Alright, it was Ki, right? Alright, we appreciate you, man. Thank you so much for your opinion.

Ki: [00:09:58] Hey man...what are...you going? Where's it gon' be?

Tony Kaizen: [00:09:59] On YouTube. Let me share the…

[END OF EPISODE]

Writing prompts

  • What do you think about Ki's accent? Was it difficult to understand?
  • What does the 'American Dream' mean to you?
  • Talk about some of the social injustices of your country.
Key Vocabulary & Grammar Guide
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Key Vocabulary Guide

Transcript

Ki: [00:00:00] Tell me what I can't say here?

Tony Kaizen: [00:00:01] There's nothing you can't say, I promise.

Zac (cameraman): [00:00:03] There ain't nothing off-limits, brother.

Ki: [00:00:04] Okay, fuck it.

Tony Kaizen: [00:00:05] 100% uncensored. This is America, after all. You know what I'm saying?

Ki: [00:00:16] Okay, what you got?

Tony Kaizen: [00:00:16] Alright, we're good? Let's do it, man. Alright so, what's your name?

Ki: [00:00:19] Ki.

Tony Kaizen: [00:00:19] Ki. Alright, so the first question we got for you is, when you hear the term the American Dream, what comes to mind? What does that mean to you?

Ki: [00:00:25] It's kind of antiquated. It depends on the person. The dream is a dream. I mean it's just a dream. It's not necessarily a reality. It's a dream, to most.

Tony Kaizen: [00:00:35] To most. Who are you referring to when you say, "to most people"?

Ki: [00:00:37] Hmm just regular people. Not...the dream is only to people that can attain it. Like people with money, people with means, those are the only people that can really, truly attain that American dream. Most of the people are gonna be normal. So is that really a dream or is that just living?

Tony Kaizen: [00:00:54] Now, when you think of the dream, are you thinking about, like, possessions, about status, money? What does the dream actually mean?

Ki: [00:00:59] The dream is being able to control your life and control how you live it. Most of the time you're being controlled by work or something else. Yeah.

Tony Kaizen: [00:01:07] And do you think that most people, you kind of said this earlier, but do you think most people don't even have a chance to achieve that dream?

Ki: [00:01:15] I think if they work hard, but it takes work. People aren't willing to put the work in to attain some of the things that they want. So most of the time, people don't get it because they don't work for it, or they don't try. This shit ain't easy.

Tony Kaizen: [00:01:29] Yeah. Do you think it's just hard work that you need? Or maybe something else?

Ki: [00:01:32] Shit, you need some luck. Luck happens for everybody. Yeah. You need some fortune. Luck and fortune. Fortune not in money, but fortune in opportunity.

Tony Kaizen: [00:01:40] Right, right, right. Yeah. Now, we do know this as, like the land of opportunity as well. Do you think that this country in particular has more opportunities than others?

Ki: [00:01:48] Yeah. Absolutely. Absolutely. First world problems. Yeah. First world situation. So other parts of the world, you don't have those opportunities. There is no middle class in most of the world. We have a middle class.

Tony Kaizen: [00:01:59] So sticking with the topic of the US, like, what are some things that you love about this country?

Ki: [00:02:05] This. Us. I mean, I see a white dude. I see...I don't know what the fuck he is, but he's cool. And you're a black dude, obviously. It's like a whole bunch of shit, and I like it.

Tony Kaizen: [00:02:15] Yeah. Melting pot, right?

Ki: [00:02:15] Yeah, it's a melting pot. So you guys all can...you may not always agree, but we...we're right here in this conversation. So yeah, yeah.

Tony Kaizen: [00:02:22] Okay, now, what are some things that you hate or wish were different or could be better about the US?

Ki: [00:02:29] Hmmm...Every...Oh shiii...That's a good question. That's a very, very good question. That's a very hard question to think about. Umm I think what I don't like about this country is, umm...the, the lies that the country...the lies that we live in. Social media is a big lie. All the things that we exist in are mainly about image and how you look, not how you are, who you are. So the country is about appearance and not who you are.

Tony Kaizen: [00:03:00] Keeping up with the Joneses.

Ki: [00:03:01] Yeah. Keeping up with the Joneses. Keeping up with appearances. Looking fly and not being fly. Being responsible. You know?

Tony Kaizen: [00:03:07] Yeah, that's a good one. Okay, so this next question is not related to the US, a little more personal. If all the jobs and professions in the world paid the exact same and you were prepared to do them, let's say starting tomorrow, what job would you do?

Ki: [00:03:20] If all the jobs paid the same? Umm, therapist?

Tony Kaizen: [00:03:23] Really? Why?

Ki: [00:03:25] Hmm because I think I like the psychology of people and helping people.

Tony Kaizen: [00:03:27] Yeah. I mean, you say therapist. You mean like sitting in the office and talking one on one?

Ki: [00:03:31] Yeah. Clinical...clinical therapist or something like that.

Tony Kaizen: [00:03:34] Okay, yeah. What's your background?

Ki: [00:03:35] Art.

Tony Kaizen: [00:03:36] What kind of art? What do you mean?

Ki: [00:03:38] Art director. So yeah.

Tony Kaizen: [00:03:40] Okay. Psychology, in a way. When you think about it.

Ki: [00:03:43] Yeah. Yeah, I'm solving a...I'm solving a creative problem. Yeah.

Tony Kaizen: [00:03:46] Nice. Now, how old are you?

Ki: [00:03:48] 45.

Tony Kaizen: [00:03:49] 45. So let's say you could go back to like 21 or maybe 18 years old and give your younger self some advice, what would you tell him?

Ki: [00:03:56] I'll slap the shit out of myself.

Tony Kaizen: [00:03:57] Why would you slap him?

Ki: [00:03:59] Oh, cos he fucking stupid. I was a fucking idiot.

Tony Kaizen: [00:04:03] Yeah. What's that? What stupid stuff are you doing back then?

Ki: [00:04:06] Can't say it on this one. Nah uh! Some things don't have a statute of limitations.

Tony Kaizen: [00:04:12] 'Nuff said, 'nuff said. We're going to skip right over that one. Alright, alright. So the last one is, what are some things that maybe when people first meet you or get a first impression of you, that they assume but are certainly not true?

Ki's wife: [00:04:23] He's a dick!

Ki: [00:04:25] That is true. They assume that I'm an asshole. They assume that I'm an asshole. That's the first impression that they get. Probably right. But after you get to know me, probably not an asshole, fully. But if I go asshole, I go full asshole. I won't go half-ass.

Tony Kaizen: [00:04:41] 0 to 100.

Ki: [00:04:42] Yeah I go, I'm always...I'm fully invested in being an asshole.

Tony Kaizen: [00:04:45] Okay. Now, why do you think people assume that about you, though?

Ki: [00:04:48] Cos I'm extremely direct and I don't have...I don't suffer fools gladly. I'm extraordinarily direct.

Tony Kaizen: [00:04:53] What do you mean by that, "You don't suffer fools gladly"? What does that mean?

Ki: [00:04:55] I don't like stupid shit. I don't like stupid people. I mean, it's stupid in regards of...you can be oblivious, but willful...willful idiots bother me. Umm so yeah, willful idiots bother me. Very simple.

Tony Kaizen: [00:05:12] Do you think in general, going back to the American culture thing, that we're not very direct people in general and that's why people assume...

Ki: [00:05:19] You'll cancel. I would get canceled if I was on TV. I'm not politically correct at all. I'm 40. I'm a...I'm a 45 year old black man. I've experienced so much dumb shit that you would not expect so political correctness doesn't really work for me very well because I think people need a harsh...a direct message to change. Because if you tell them nice, they don't listen anyway, they complain about it so...why be nice? Be honest.

Tony Kaizen: [00:05:45] Now you're much older than me, so you probably have a better memory of, let's say, 30 or 40 years ago. Do you think that even back then the whole political correctness thing was a big part of our culture and society? Or that's recent?

Ki: [00:05:56] Not at all. It's recent. It's recent. It's recent because you sit...we would sit in these echo chambers now. Social media is a lot of echo chambers where everybody with a like mind can agree. Everybody with a like mind can totally agree.

Tony Kaizen: [00:06:09] It sounds like you're really not happy with the effects that social media has had on society and our culture.

Ki: [00:06:15] I love social media. I think it's a necessary thing. I just think that we should still be open to listening to others and conversing with others and being wrong. We should be... Nobody can be wrong. We don't like to be wrong...when somebody is wrong, it's like a mob mentality. Somebody disagrees...any disagreement is met with mob mentality so I may not agree with whatever the fuck he is over there, but...but he seems like a cool guy and we can disagree on shit but, you know, different shit, right?

Tony Kaizen: [00:06:46] Right. Do you think that is something that's unique to us or maybe around the world they're kind of feeling the same effects?

Ki: [00:06:52] It depends on the part of the world, Europe, maybe certain parts of Europe. Umm first world problems, first world problems. Other people are trying to get running water, trying to get access to water. They're not worried about...they're not worried about shit. I personally don't give a shit about disagreeing with you when we've got $9 dozen eggs, so we need to get along.

Tony Kaizen: [00:07:13] How do you think that happens?

Ki: [00:07:15] Umm while we're worried about other shit, inflation happens because they can. Nobody's paying attention to that so...effectively.

Tony Kaizen: [00:07:25] But in terms of like, people coming together and understanding each other a little bit more, where do you think that starts? What do we need to change or do differently?

Ki: [00:07:32] We need to start by being okay with disagreeing with each other.

Ki's wife: [00:07:37] I totally see that being...

Ki: [00:07:39] Yeah. I'm going to start with being okay with the disagreement and listening to each other and stop yelling. If you listen to somebody and stop yelling, then it'll be better.

Tony Kaizen: [00:07:49] So give people the chance to explain where they're coming from and teach you how they think.

Ki: [00:07:52] Yeah, where they are. Instead of forcing people to be where you are, meeting them where they are, and being okay with them, staying where they are, even if you disagree.

Tony Kaizen: [00:07:59] Right, right. Now, do you see this changing or getting any better in the future?

Ki: [00:08:03] Oh, it's not getting better. It's only getting worse because more people are disagreeing. More people are forming these extreme opinions where they're not wrong. They're always right.

Tony Kaizen: [00:08:12] You really think there's no...where does this go, though? If it's getting worse and worse, where do you think this ends up?

Ki: [00:08:17] Umm it's going to a place where...if you...if you forget the past, you're doomed to repeat it so...I could...I don't want to say...I don't want to say yeah, yeah...I saw your (eye)brows. I don't want to say that. But it could be, when people sit in these places and when you start to call people out and say that they're wrong, they are... Then you start to try to justify why they shouldn't exist. And that becomes an extreme way of thinking.

Tony Kaizen: [00:08:41] Especially with the technology and weapons we have at our disposal these days.

Ki: [00:08:44] Exactly. Exactly.

Tony Kaizen: [00:08:45] Now, let me ask you this. Speaking of that, we're not going to use the word, but in the worst case scenario, things go all the way to the…to the worst possible scenario. Would you feel some sense of like, duty or responsibility, to get involved and maybe fight for your country or anything of that nature?

Ki: [00:09:03] No, no. If I needed to fight for my country, I would. But...the duty to fight for what, though? I would have to have a purpose. I'm a purpose person. So if there's...if there's no purpose in it, why do it? I need to understand. I need understanding for the purpose...what we'd be fighting for, why we'd be fighting.

Tony Kaizen: [00:09:22] So, as an American, you don't really feel like, as an American, you have some type of, like, duty to stand up for Americans?

Ki: [00:09:28] Absolutely. I do. Absolutely. See, that's where I would have to understand. I mean, my time has passed on the fighting for the country part. I mean, the only reason I didn't fight for this country is because I had an injury, a major injury. So that's the only reason.

Tony Kaizen: [00:09:42] What injury, if you don't mind me asking?

Ki: [00:09:43] Umm ACL, ACL.

Tony Kaizen: [00:09:45] How did you do that?

Ki: [00:09:46] Umm playing baseball. So.

Tony Kaizen: [00:09:49] Okay, I see the shirt. So you're a big baseball fan?

Ki: [00:09:51] I played a little bit. A little bit.

Tony Kaizen: [00:09:53] Yeah. I got you. Alright, it was Ki, right? Alright, we appreciate you, man. Thank you so much for your opinion.

Ki: [00:09:58] Hey man...what are...you going? Where's it gon' be?

Tony Kaizen: [00:09:59] On YouTube. Let me share the…

[END OF EPISODE]

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