So I made a promise, of sorts, and I think I'm about to break it. Look, I'm not always the most dependable person you'll ever meet. I'm dependable to my kids, that's important, frankly most of you aren't. It's not that I don't love you all, I do, but keep vague promises I make in this blog about what I will talk about next aren't abandoned to be believed. Most of the time, I post about what I feel like writing at the time. The hard part for you the reader is stringing together coherence from a timeline that might jump around a bit. Sorry about that, life is just full of these little disappointments. And the truth is, if this really upsets you, your life is going so good that you have no right to complain. Please continue.....
I said I would talk about another person who changed my life, but that might be jumping ahead too much. When we last left our hero (that's me by the way), I was just coming to grips with the end of an era, the era that was Super Shops. But, it didn't really end that fast. It's not like I woke up one day and all of a sudden I was ready to be a "right and proper" adult. I don't mature quickly, never have and probably never will. Actually when we stopped hanging out a Super Shops, we moved approximately 300 feet to an old abandonded restaurant named Bobby G's. It was an empty parking lot, and that's about all we required. We continued there for quite some time. It wasn't really that different, people came and people went. But during that time things started changing in my life, and those changes colored everything that I did.
First off, I smoked, my parents knew about it and hated it, but they also realized that they weren't going to stop me either. What they would put there foot down about was me smoking in my room. Now, actually I kept the window open and blew the smoke outside, but apparently enough got in to stink up the place. They were perfectly justified in their outrage, I would drop kick my kids into another zip code if they did that once. I repeatedly ignored their warnings and outcries, I wasn't much into listening and definitely didn't really get into the whole parental authority thing. So, naturally, they got fed up and kicked me out of the house. I'm not sure if this was intended to be a scare tactic because they told me to find an apartment, and I did, a few days later. They seemed very surprised that I had found something that quickly and seemed eager to leave. The truth was, I was eager to leave. They agreed to help me pay for the rent and groceries, so in my mind I was set. At the time I had a job at the Space and Rocket Center. It paid above minimum wage, but not much. Also by that time I had a stint at UAH that didn't go so well, largely because I hadn't accepted that I had to study in college.
Let me say a little about that whole UAH thing in my defense. When I left Tuscaloosa I was freaked out, I mean I seriously thought my life was ruined. At some point in my coming of age I had developed this "master plan" that dictated how my life was supposed to go. I wasn't aware that I had developed this plan until everything fell apart, but apparently it existed. The bad thing about my "master plan" was that it wasn't really based in reality. It was some hybrid plan of everything that you saw in movies and television that told you what a normal life was like, in TV land. I was supposed to go away to college, meet a girl, get a degree, get a job, marry previously mentioned girl, have kids, buy house, retire, and die. That's the abbreviated version at least. As you can see its not really realistic so I was doomed to fail. The problem was that I didn't realize it at the time. So, when my life didn't match the script, I thought I was totally fucked. I was destined to become your local neighborhood trash man, picking up your trash at 6am every Tuesday morning. Seriously, I thought I had totally ruined my life and I didn't know how to reconcile that. So I just sort of moped around and gave up looking for a real direction in my life. And there in lies the problem. I had no idea what I wanted to be in life and I honestly believed I was supposed to have that all figured out at that time. There is some very important lessons I learned from all of this and I've made sure my kids understand that life isn't like TV. When you say it you want to say, "Duh". But you will be surprised at how TV and movies color the expectations we have, and it's not healthy. So when I went to UAH immediately after Tuscaloosa I hadn't figured anything out. I had no idea the real reason's I had failed there and thus was destined to make the same mistakes. Sometimes the reasons we fail at things aren't real obvious. For me, it was more than just a lack of effort, that was part of it, but why was I so unmotivated? And until I found the right motivation I was destined to fail over and over and over, I had to fix the real cause. Part of that was that I eventually found what I wanted to do and that motivated me. Another part of it was living a life that kind of sucked to drive home the importance of things like getting my education. Sometimes life has to kick you in the Jimmy Sack a few times to get your attention. It's not a bad system because if life has to do that enough, you end up sterilized and can't reproduce which does the rest of us a favor. Anyway, going to UAH was destined to fail, and fail I did.
So, back to the story, there I am in my new place and thinking I'm tough shit. Most of my peers still lived at home so I was set. It definitely helped in the ladies department. Having your own place to come back was definitely a perceived value enhancer. I could have people over, do what I want, come and go as I pleased, oh yeah and pay bills. That sucked. Luckily my parents helped out so it wasn't all bad, but it started getting my attention. I ended up leaving the Space and Rocket Center and worked at Parisians. At first I was a sales associate in the Boy's department. But I sucked at sales. We had quotas that I NEVER met. And then there was the little black book. The idea was to develop "special" customers that you could call when new stuff came in and stuff like that. I'm sure that seemed like a great idea to someone, but to me it was the anathema of everything I thought a sales person should be. I don't like being approached in the store, if I need you I'll let you know, otherwise leave me the fuck alone. The idea that some jack monkey would call me at my freaking house to tell me about the jeans they got in, and that they just thought I would looking smashing in them made me physically ill. To make matters worse, the Boy's department has the lowest total sales department in the whole store, and most of the sales associates were 60 year old ladies. The two exceptions were me and this chick with huge tits. I was freaking doomed. No mom wants to become my "special" customer. Well, two did, and that's because we ended up dating (and by that I mean having sex a lot for a while). We were supposed to develop a certain amount of new ones every couple of months depending on how many we currently had. Since I had 2, I was expected to develop a lot more in a relatively short amount of time, no chance of that happening. 95% of the people that came into our department were already one of the other associates special customers. So I sold jack shit and had 2 special customers. To top that off, somehow just how "special" my special customers were got out and it upset my manager. She was very religious and VERY sexually repressed. Personally I think she secretly lusted after my one eyed wonder sponge, but I could be wrong about that part. So, I didn't exactly do well, and she had great fun rubbing my nose in it. She was also very proud of her Business Management degree from East-West Podunk Community School. Okay, admission time, I do sometimes wish I could find her and show her my pay stub and how many decimal places are in it. Yes, it's petty and pointless, but she thought she was on top of the world as manager of the boys department at Parisians in Parkway City Mall and made my life hell for 6 months. Sue me, I'm petty sometimes, like the time between sunset and sundown. I'm usually real mature while I sleep.
My other problem in sales was that I didn't like the other customers that weren't already "special", so I hid from them and that tends to effect your sales totals. Additionally, the others sales people, mainly in other departments, were catty as hell and there were all kinds of "sales people" rules that I didn't care about and didn't know. There is no telling how many people I offended on a daily basis. At one point, a guy came up to me and told me that he needed to talk to me. Apparently I had offended someone (surprise). I asked him who and he said that they didn't want me to know. So I asked what I hads said but he couldn't tell me less I figure out who the mysterious offendee was. So I asked when I had done this and of course he couldn't disclose that to me either. So I was left with the fact that I had offended someone at some time by saying something, which I'm sure comes as a great surprise to you gentle reader. I told him he could kiss my ass because there wasn't anything I could do about that. I mean I wasn't intentionally offending people, but I was 19, I still had A LOT of rough edges. If he had told me who it was and what was said, I would have apologized (unless it was really stupid) and made an effort not to do/say whatever it was that I had done (again unless it was really stupid). But of course I couldn't because I had no freaking idea what this guy was talking about. I really don't know what he thought this was going to accomplish other than him getting to feel like a big shot.
Here's where that story gets interesting. You see, my mom worked at the service desk at Parisians as a second job off and on to get the discount on clothes. A lot of the people that worked there knew her, so this dick tonsiler tells me that it would be a shame if my mom were to find out about this. Yes, ass boy threatened to tell my mommy. I asked him if he was actually serious. When he said yes, I told him go ahead and gave him her phone number. If he had really known her, he would've realized she would have called him a jackass. He just sort of looked at me and told me how serious he was. So, I told him how serious I was. I informed him that I lived in my own place, paid my own bills (mostly), and that I had a trouser snake large enough to engulf his entire head like a mad munchkin chasing a tater tot. And to further offend him I told him that his face was strangely configured and that I found his general being to be rather uncouth and that he was also extremely malodorous. Ok, I don't remember what I said, the previous stuff is what I would say now, but you get the general idea. He stormed off and went back to wherever he came from.
So, apparently I didn't make lots of friends among these ass kissing dip shits. I'm sure they all weren't like this, but I never met any of those. All the ones that I met were total wastes of human life. So life went on at Parisians. My manager kept on hating me and accusing me of all sorts of bizarre things. At one point she asked me if I had messed up inventory on purpose. Actually I hadn't, the jack off they hired to come in just for inventory had written everything in the wrong columns. Ironically she blamed it on me despite the fact that the other person had signed the damn page. So when my manager asked that I told her "Yes, I work for Mc Rae's as a secret agent of distruction and chaos, my code name is Chaos Ninja". She ran off to get the store manager, apparently that moron believed me. The fact that the other person signed it may have saved me, because the store manager asked me why I had intentionally messed up the inventory and was I really sent from another store. Apparently store managers aren't a lot smarter than department managers. I laughed and told her I had nothing to do with it, that I didn't fill out the little sheet, and she noted that it was signed by the other person. When asked why I said I was sent from another store I told her it was a stupid response to a stupid question and that if anyone actually believed that they probably shouldn't be allowed to run a department unsupervised. Yeah, that got me a lot of points. So they dropped it, well the store manager did, I'm quite sure that my manager didn't. But I didn't make her look stupid, she was good at that on her own. Seriously, asking me if I had done it on purpose? I don't know what qualifications they looked for in the interview process, intelligence, common sense, and generally having a fucking clue clearly weren't requirements. I also noticed that big tits weren't a requirement either, not saying that's good or bad, just making an observation.
So eventually I was moved to stock because I sucked at sales. Ultimately that didn't work out a lot better. The end came when I was asked if I cared about Parisians as a career and I said "um, no". Apparently not wanting to be a career stock boy was held against me and I was let go. I didn't care, I was sick of that place and all the drama that went on. It's amazing what people with no lives and few career prospects will create to pass the time. The daily drama was more than I could stand. I was even escorted out and told not to talk to the other stock people again because they were concerned about a revolt. I'm dead serious, that's even the word they used, "revolt". I looked at them like "what in the fuck are you on about?". I didn't think we were in the middle ages and that people were afraid of peasant uprisings anymore, but whatever. I went out into the mall and called them on the phone. In my honor they refused to work the rest of the day. The truth is, they always refused to work, that was part of the drama.
But during all of this, I was in my apartment and life was good. Paying bills sucked, but at least I got to keep my place really messy. I kept all the newspapers I never read in an empty closet. When I moved out it was like 3 feet deep. I am awesome. What fire hazard?
And during this time, I hung out at the empty parking lot and wasted my time like always. People came and went and the group continued to evolve. We'd end up back at Super Shops again, apparently some things are too good to only do once. I had lots of fun experiences and some not so fun ones. But life was good, even if I was basically a piece of drift wood with no direction. That came next. My next job changed my life. Welcome to the world of PC Systems. It wasn't easy, but it built a fire in me that hasn't really ever extinguished and it finally led me to the light. I was introduced to computers and in that I found refuge and direction. A man named Greg Ellis would take me in, teach me, and give me the desire to learn more and more. That desire would take me back to school and onward. But that my friends is a post for a different day.