Tuesday, November 17, 2015

My Last Week

Well, I have one week left in the abominable pit I’ll come to know as my ex- employer on Friday. With so little time left I have some general musings and recollections of an extremely odd year of employment at a plumbing supply house (Not where I thought I’d end up at after 4 years of college, but hey life is a wild ride). Some of these are practical while others take a more jovial approach, but all are relevant.

Disclaimer: This post is satirical, hypothetical and is in no way an accurate representation of how I conduct myself in a professional work environment.  

  • Okay...some guy just asked if he could buy a microwave. This is a PLUMBING supply warehouse. It is simply maddening what comes through our doors. Maddening. 
  • Exhibit A: This man did not speak English. and he is stacking two fixtures that in no way belong together. After which he took a picture of said rig and went to Home Depot because apparently premium service just isn't good enough and he wanted PVC on the cheap.
  • Plumbing is expensive. Large plumbing corporations rob you blind. In 10 years you’ll pay $2000 for a water heater. There’s not a whole lot you can do about it. Blame the government and increasingly strict Naeca Standards. Plus, it’s a dying trade and there are very few young plumbers. It’s a dying necessary trade. It’s not going away and it’s only going to get more expensive. I guess no one wants to deal with sh*t for a living, who knew?
  • People will tell you that after one good interview you should still keep looking for a job. Those same people will tell you that you shouldn’t quit your current job before you have something definitely lined up. Those people haven’t sat in my desk shooting rubber bands at a mousetrap for 5 hours. They don’t know, so I ignored them. Yeah, it paid off. 

  • Getting a lease on an apartment 300 miles away? Not that hard. Just become good friends with a local bank teller who will notorize things for you for free because you’re charming. (I know, I’m full of myself) Actually…that has very little to do with getting an apartment. My brother did all the work. I just wanted to point out that miscellaneous services don’t always have to cost money.
  • For the most part, any sort of corporate half of a business entity is viewed as the Darkside by lower level employees. If you’re lucky enough to be on the green side of the fence just accept that everyone is going to hate you and dry your tears with your larger paycheck. This includes management. That, my friends, is the promise land. Those who can’t do – manage…and they get paid more money for it.
Side Bar: I think as a general rule of thumb no matter what you're doing the people will always be better than the job itself. I'd rather work with awesome people at a dead end job then, you know, the scum of the earth and have great dental.
  • Before quitting make sure to clear your internet search history. Not that you were looking at anything bad, but you certainly don’t want the next guy sitting at your desk asking questions about why you googled “Best moments of The OC” or “how much gunpowder you need for a hand grenade.” You may need a recommendation later and the last thing you need is a reference saying you might be a terrorist.
  • For the most part, when asked to do something you don’t want to do it simply do it poorly and they won’t ask you again. Disclaimer* this only works if you do other things well. The trick is to convince them of your value while sidestepping the truly difficult tasks.
  • Sick days are your right as an employee. Some people reserve them for near death days, but please, for the love of all that is good and pure…No one wants your cold. Just chill at home and get paid for it, alright?
  • Office pranks are fun. However, it is important to gauge your target’s tolerance before springing a trap. Some people don’t like having their chair bungee chorded to their desk. Ridiculous, right? Also, when leveraging explosives such as small fire crackers check blast radius.
  • It is important that after you make a mistake you adamantly stand behind your mistake until your boss forgets this issue entirely. Not that you were right, but something more important is bound to come up and you’ll have to deal with far less dire repercussions. Works well so long as you stop your tomfoolery and fix your mistake quietly. How am I supposed to know the ins and outs of operation if no one tells me anything. Forgiveness > Permission. Albeit all this could be for not and you'll go to your desk on day and this will be there:

  •  If you have an extremely mundane job its VERY important to keep a lighthearted mindset with  talking with people on the phone. Joking around with people and flirting with older women at other distributing companies is not only a great way to pass time but raises morale.
  • Along those same lines, when solicitors ring, do your best to entertain them for as long as possible. Odds are they need the experience, and convincing someone you’re the Executive Quality Management Director can lead to and extremely entertaining conversation.
  • Sometimes those co-workers you can’t stand just need someone to talk to. If you’ll take the time listening to their analysis of how they invented the fishing rod or encouraged Hyundai to make some sports car a 4 door or how good Frank Zappa is or their knowledge of the composition of a meteorite you’ll come to realize that they really weren’t worth wasting your time on in the first place. They’ll get fired. Just hang in there.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

I'm All Ears And I'm All Scars To Hear You Tell Me: Boy's Like You Try Too Hard

I’ve always found that one of my biggest problems is I think too much. It makes easy things hard.

It’s an over analytical paralyzing disability that leaves me trapped inside my own mind if I’m not careful. My whole life I’ve been a dreamer, a hopeless romantic and dweller. It got to the point where I identified myself in such a way, I was unabashed and proud of my delusions. That was who I was, that I was my identity. Lately though, I’m starting to doubt whether this is a good thing.

Why? I guess because it is, as cliché as it is, it’s unrealistic to think this way. Life is messy. People are not the shade of perfection they paint themselves to be.  People who place the safety of their heart in the fantasies of their mind get hurt. I’m not saying putting yourself out there is a bad idea, far from it. I still think being vulnerable and getting uncomfortable is one of the keys to true happiness. But having fantasies about the way things should be blurs reality to the point where you might miss something great right in front of you.

Comparing your life and personal situation to those of others is a dangerous game. So dangerous there are very few ways to win. However, I can think of a game far more dangerous than that—comparing your life to the fantasy you have carefully crafted brick by brick. The very word Fantasy carries the connotation of make believe. It has a place, but we need to be mindful of that place and remember where those bricks we used came from.

Film is a relatively new revelation of modern technology within the last hundred years and it led the way for dramatization to take hold of the hearts of everyone born after 1920. It’s cliché to say life isn’t a movie. But the truth is its not, we can’t live like it is because we’ll end up ruining it.

A friend of mine loves to call movies. She understands them and knows where they’re headed. Twist ending, character development or merely a simple event and she can call it. There’s a reason for that. Movies as a whole are predictable. Sure, there are some idiots out there who are genuinely surprised when the guy gets the girl or good defeats evil, but if you take a large sample size of movies and tv shows they all fit the same bill.

They’re predictable. We wrote them. They came from our minds. They are the pictures of what we want things to be. There’s only one problem with projecting that on real life. Real life is not predictable and you don’t get to write what happens.

* Cue slightly insightful cheesy conclusion *

Can we influence it? Of course. But it’s important for people like me out there to remember that the clouds are a long way up. While the view may be nice for a time gravity has a way of bringing us all back to earth.

Maybe I’ll stay a sucker. Maybe I’m growing up. Either way A seed of reality has been planted, and I for one am excited to see how it grows.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Long Live the Reckless & the Brave

Oh to be reckless. I want to be a reckless man. I want to be perceived that way.

But I’m not reckless. I’m really not.

Some of my friends may believe me to be because that is the facade I’ve created, but I rarely do something unless I have it carefully calculated. I often execute it in such a way that you’d never know I’d planned it all out. I’ll tell you this, it may seem safe, but its not.

On other hand, despite my best laid plans, maybe I am reckless. Just because my actions are calculated…just because I know what I’m going to do…doesn’t mean its not reckless. Because I’ve still got the fear.

I’ve got that voice in the back of my head whispering that all of this will fail, that all of my toiling will be for naught. I love that voice. I love him doubting me. I relish that dread when I don’t know if I will succeed. I wouldn’t trade it for all the “Sure Things” in the world.

To me that’s the allure about being reckless; the doubt. It has nothing to be with physical or mental danger. What is reckless to one may not be reckless to another. My sophomore year of college I was starting microeconomics. On the first day of class the professor asked if anyone any anymore questions. He seemed like a good-natured fellow so I went ahead and asked “Has being a  ginger held you back in your professional career?” 

The class was shocked. The My friend's friend sitting two chairs to my right leaned over and said “Who the h*ll is this guy?" I was a little shocked too. Shocked at how little courage it took to ask the question. Maybe that was more my stupidity getting the best of me, but it didn’t feel reckless. I just though it would be funny!

“I thought it would be funny!” by the way has gotten me in more trouble than I would care to admit…but more on that later.  

I don’t live my life to be complacent. I fear the day were I shy away from a chance because I don’t know how it ends. I like not knowing how it ends. I love the fear that comes along with my recklessness. Because this, In the words of the only fictional character I identify with more than Jack Sparrow:

Friday, September 11, 2015

Gold Steps

It’s been a sweller of summer. Rock shows, late nights, fist fights, tubing trips, bike rides, phone calls and breaking through the walls that closed me in. 10 years from now one phenomenal CD will sum up the culmination of all of these memories. In fact, I probably won’t stop raving about this cd for the next 5 years. (Trust me, I know myself, I don’t let things go)

I’ve listened to a lot of good music that stuck with me over the years, but “Life’s Not Out To Get You” by Neck Deep is the best record I’ve heard in the last 10 years. (You know you’re getting old when you can start saying stuff like that. Is this why nobody likes you when you’re 23? Because you start raving about how everything used to be better?)

I know. I KNOW.  My music sucks. I hear these phrases on the reg: “All your music sounds the same” “These songs suck” “This guys whinny voice is annoying” and everyone’s favorite expression “This is the stuff I listened to in middle school.”

The Pop-Punk genre as a whole has gone the way of the dinosaur in the public eye and is wildly regarded as nothing more than a bunch of whiny brats recounting all the times a girl broke their heart. Honestly, that’s all true. In fact, that’s why I LOVE pop-punk. I may be an adult, but give me a rocking break-up jam from high school any day of the week. What can I say? There’s a lot of angst and energy in Pop-punk, and It puts me in a good mood. I don’t think you can say that about a lot radio jams. Maybe the good mood part, but there’s no heart, no real emotion, I don’t FEEL when I’m listening to it.

One song in particular on LNOTGY resonated with my soul and really changed my view of my situation and well, life in general. That song, was “Gold Steps.”

I’d been a bit mopey this summer for a host of reasons: A girl I spent a little too much time thinking about, a job that bores me to tears, growing up and accepting that there’s no going back to the carefree life of college.  It all had me a little depressed. Then I heard “Gold Steps” about a hundred times and it flipped a switch in my brain. I started to look at this summer in a new light.

When I look back on three years ago I wouldn’t exactly say I was in a great place. However, as far as my memories go, I don’t remember the pain I felt then. All I really remember are the good times, the laughs, flying around Forrest Hill delivering pizzas with the windows down and the volume up. Before I went to college I was DONE with Maryland. I wasn’t close to my friends anymore, the people I really cared about only came home once in a blue moon, and even then I had to bend over backwards to hang out with them.

I am so much better off now than I was then but I’ve spent so much time wishing things were different that I’ve inevitably wasted a portion of my valuable youth. By the by This isn’t going to end anytime soon. I’m still going to wish I was in a better situation. I’m still going to feel like everyone else knows something I don’t. This isn’t a life changing revelation. I knew things would get better to begin with but when walls start to cave in again, it happens every now and then and always has me feeling like I’m lost.


It takes little songs like Gold Steps to bring me back in the moment when I realize that 10 years from now I’m going to look back on this summer with NOTHING but fond memories. I’m going to be reminiscing with a friend and be in tears laughing over the fact that I ran the same EZ Pass in Richmond 5 times (You’d think I’d take the hint!). I’ll think about the time I impulsively spent 200 dollars on concert tickets before even looking at the location/date. I’ll remember discovering SpikeBall, Playing settlers of Catan til 3 in the morning and binge watching that stupid, yet ridiculously entertaining show “Baby Daddy.”

Its one of those moments where I see the sign saying hope is up ahead and I realize I’m on track for a better end. It’s not the big things that will dominate our memories, it’s the little things. Thinking about those moments makes me smile. Just relish where you are and whoever you’re with because life is always changing, and if you don’t slow down you’re going to miss it.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Life Without Spell Check

Now there's a scary thought...sounds more like the appocalypse to me. Actually, as an expirement I'm going to pretend like I don't have spell check and do this blog post completely from my own knowledge of the English language...It's not going to be pretty, My spelling has never been the best, let alone my grammer...

Ahhp...I spelled grammar wrong, but in the spirit of fair play I won't go back and correct it.  I hope none of my future employers use this blog as a reference for my writing style...I went to college and I'm good, I swear.

Anyway, the reason I'm doing this post is a simple one. My current residence of work has a computer system from like 1999 and NOTHING has spell check. I'm sending emails to clients without knowing if what I'm saying is spelled the right way and it's absolutly terrifying. I can't even sent an email to a plumber, how will I ever become and author or a promotional writer? Odds for me landing a career in the writing world aren't looking so hot.

Oh how I curse past tense Ben for taking those squiggly red lines for granted. What was I thinking 11th grade me cheating off Jocelynn Duvall on virtually every vocab assignment...WHY???

I have, however, been forced to rectify my ways. Well...no ones forcing me, but I'm so sick of my writing performance & email edicate that I'm doing something about it. (Omg...you have no idea how frusterating it is typing a word and hitting space and seeing it come up red and knowing that you can't go back and fix it. I curse this infuriating game i've created)

Here's a list of words that give me headaches on the daily. These are the ones I HATE. No matter how many times I use them I never remember the right way without spell check.

1.) Restaurant - Well that's stupid, I just spelled it right...but it was a guess. I SWEAR. No single word gives me more trouble, I mean WHAT is with that AU?

2.) Tommorrow - There! phew, I spelled a word on my list wrong. I already know it's that God forsaken double m but I always second guess myself. Kind of like when you say a word over and over again then after a while you're like..."What is this foreign language I'm mumbling?"

3.) Accommidation - WHY. why. I nail the double letters and then that stupid "I" threw a monkey wrench in the works.  

4.) Vaccuum - HOW CAN THAT BE WRONG? Two C's has got to be right. Vaccum. *&%$. Well that word doesn't even make sense either. Of course its the two U's. OF COURSE.

5.) Occurance - I don't even know where I went wrong there...maybe ence? This is making me angry. Back in school they never taught us what we needed to know. (You're welcome Brand New fans).

Those are only 5 words, i assure you there's many more but I'm going to stop now in order to keep this posts length manageable. I swear all two of my readers have already moved onto bigger and better things, I know I would have...(Uhg...this guys post is SO long and he can't even spell proffessor right.)

Fortunately we live in a world where methods to double check your self are almost infinite. It's not like the internet's ACTUALLY going to go down, or technoligy (I quit. Game over. I lose. I'm never ever going to be a writer.) with spell checking capabilities will cease to exist.

Not being able to spell doesn't mean I'm stupid,  it just means I'm care free enough not to stress out over the details. I don't need to worry about spelling and grammar because this is the 21st century. Now everyone born before 1985 and not dependent on technology to do their thinking for them is like:

According to the Microsoft word 2000 program on this ancient computer I spelled 13 words wrong...can you find them all on your own?

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