My nature is to provoke, but always with good intentions

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First Posted: 3/3/2015

Some people seek attention. They struggle to make their mark on the world, so they hope untamed behavior and vulgar stunts will administer a glimpse of admiration.

Others naturally incite reaction. They wear their heart on their sleeves and are programmed to provoke by nature — but always with good intent. I’m one of those people with a history of provocation. Sorry, Mom and Dad, but I’m unapologetic about that.

Recently, a comment made online by someone who falls into the aforementioned attention-seeker category of people almost made me lose sight of why it’s important to embrace the fact that I provoke by nature.

A few weeks ago, I reported on the myths of modular homes for an article in the Times Leader.

As usual, readers were invited to comment online about the story.

You might think, “What is the craziest comment you could possibly come up with about a story on stick-built homes vs. modular construction?” For the average Tom, Dick or Harriet, that would probably be a reader saying that modular construction is lousy; for me, it was a picture posted of myself in Miley Cyrus’ VMA costume with a comment questioning my ability to be a journalist.

The picture was from a YouTube video I made over a year ago.

When I applied for a job at the popular humor website, the CHIVE, one of the requirements was to make a funny video explaining why I would fit in at the company. The big reveal at the end was me getting out from underneath my covers in the infamous Miley Cyrus costume, which was meant to be funny because I’m a hairy man.

Once my editor saw the comment, which was a screen-shot of me dressed as Miley, I was chock-full of embarrassment for being a distraction to the paper.

I instantly went to my YouTube channel — on my own — to make the video private so other readers with too much time on their hands couldn’t screen-shot the video to take it out of context.

I later received a voice-mail from a source in the story about modular construction. They complimented my article, and joked about the “good looking” pictures of me in the comments.

I realized that the picture of me wasn’t a big deal.

Just because there’s a video of me dressed as Miley Cyrus on YouTube doesn’t mean my editor has low standards for journalism, it means I have a life.

If that offends you, may I suggest you suck on a chill pill and Google ISIS.

Why can’t someone be intelligent and push the limits?

Without people pushing boundaries, their would be no change moving people forward.

To anyone who may be reading this: As long as you’re not hurting anybody, don’t let anybody prohibit you from pushing the limits, as long as it is with good intent. A true rebel isn’t a punk, it’s someone who looks society in the face while saying, “I understand who you want me to be, but I’m going to show you who I actually am.”

There will always be people who try to discredit you for it, but they’ll only be remembered for your name coming out of their mouth and not anything special that they’re doing.

Keep pushing the limits, the world needs people like us.

I have since made the video of me wearing a Miley Cyrus costume public again.

And for anyone looking to discredit my journalistic ability by digging into my personal life, I invite you to look up “I Survived A Japanese Game Show,” season two, on YouTube. You’ll see ten episodes of me running around in tight, gold, glittery spandex — even a tutu — competing to win money for tuition to learn how to be a journalist.