Aug 29

In addition to doing tech-support stuff for the Internet provider I work for, I also, from time to time, handle some marketing responsibilities.  As annoying as advertising sales people can be, they are usually more fun to deal with than people whose Internet isn’t working.  The following conversation did occur, it’s just that the words that came out of my mouth were completely different than what I have written below.  I don’t like cold-calling any more than the next guy (in fact, I probably hate it way more than the next guy), but a little bit of pre-qualification can go a long way…

at work, telephone ringing, it is from another extension in the office:

Me:  This is Rich.

Coworker:  Yeah, I have Ernie from St. Larry’s of the Divine Catholic Church on the phone, and he is asking for you specifically.

Me:  Okay, send him through.

really lame hold music, then a click as someone comes on the line

Me:  This is Rich, how can I help you?

Ernie:  Hi, Rich!  This is Ernie from St. Larry’s of the Divine Catholic Church.

Me:  Hi, Ernie.

Ernie:  We are in the process of redesigning our church bulletins, and are securing space for our advertisers.

Me:  ……

Ernie:  I notice that, in the past, you have advertised in our bulletin.

Me:  ……

Ernie:  And I was wondering if you would be interested in advertising with us again.

Me:  Well, Ernie, we tried advertising in several local Catholic church bulletins a couple of years ago and were disappointed with the results.  We really didn’t receive any inquiries for our service that we could tie directly to the bulletin advertising.

Ernie:  Oh, I’m sorry to hear that!  Do you mind me asking exactly what kind of business you have there?

Me:  ……?!?

Ernie:  You know, what kind of stuff do you guys do?

Me:  Well, Ernie, we host fetish websites.

Ernie:  …… Excuse me?

Me:  You know, bondage, foot fetish, golden showers, domination and the like.  We specialize mostly in bestiality sites, though.

Ernie:  Pornography?

Me:  Yeah, sounds kind of nasty the way you say it, but we really try to keep it clean, you know.  No sex with dead animals or anything sick like that.

Ernie:  ……

Me:  We have our morals and whatnot, you know?

Ernie:  Well, I think that maybe this isn’t a good fit.

Me:  Yeah, I kind of might have to agree with you, Ernie.  But you know what’s really not a good fit?  We host this one site called “Elephant Amour” and they have this video of this little tiny Ethiopian gal and a bull African elephant, and they take that elephant’s…

Ernie:  Well, now… uh…  I have some other calls to make.  Sorry to have wasted your time.

click

Me:  Yeah, I’m sorry you wasted my time too, Ernie.


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Aug 28

I haven’t been to a dentist since I was 18-years-old.  I’m now 41-years-old.  For those of you bad at math, I haven’t been to a dentist in 23 years.  The last time I went was at the urging of my parents before I went off to college.  I was still on my parents insurance and they paid for the whole shebang.  I remember it being painful, full of screeching drills and the smell of smoking teeth.  I remember shots (notice the plural) in my mouth that didn’t seem to numb everything the way they were supposed to.  I remember thinking to myself that the dentist was a skinny little preppy dude, and my 18-year-old body, fresh out of four years of high school football, could kick this jerk’s ass.  I’m pretty sure that dentist was about one drill insertion away from having a little dental work done himself… at no charge.  That was then.

This is now.  I no longer fear the pain.  The thought of having some dude sticking his hairy fingers in my mouth is unsettling, but it doesn’t prevent me from having my oral orifice examined.  I don’t go to the dentist for the same reason that I don’t see a psychiatrist (of which I am plenty in need of seeing), I don’t go to a chiropractor, I forgo the use of an attorney, and I seldom set foot in a doctor’s office;  I hate senators and school superintendents and city managers and CEOs and Hollywood actors and rock stars and successful entrepreneurs.

I have a severe case of class envy.

I hate people who are successful and make a lot of money.  I don’t hate them for what they have… I hate them for making me realize what I do not have.  I don’t hate them for their outgoing personalities and successful traits… I hate them for making me realize how low my self-esteem is and how my traits all suck.  I don’t hate their money… I just do everything I can to not add to their wealth by sacrificing any of my lower-middle-class income to them.  That’s one of the main reasons I hate paying taxes… because I know part of what I pay goes into those $150,000 salaries of those morons in Washington who can’t pull their heads out of their asses for long enough to do what’s right for the country.

I remember when I first moved to Scottsbluff, NE.  I was in my early 20s and pretty fresh out of college.  I was an assistant manager at Sherwin-Williams… you know… the paint store.  That’s right… first job out of college was in retail management.  Explains a lot about why I think life sucks, huh?  I remember my college professors all warning about jobs in retail.  “Once you go into retail, it’s very hard to get out… or to do any better.”  I was hesitant to go into retail, but after sending out hundreds of resumes with only a handful of resulting interviews and only one actual job offer, I didn’t feel I had much choice.  I took what was offered.  So, I end up in Scottsbluff, NE making a salary of like $17,000/year working 45 to 55 hours per week.  I knew this wasn’t a lot of money, but I could afford a crappy, mildew covered, bug infested little basement apartment, and I could pay my bills and put food on the table.  Not good food, mind you, but food.  I was also able to keep up on the repayment of the thousands of dollars in student loans I had accumulated.  College… funny huh?  You spend thousands of dollars on an education that never really seems to pay for itself.  Where’s the ROI on a stupid business degree?  I guess if you’re a doctor or lawyer, you must finally realize some return on that investment, huh?  Anyways, even though I was making pretty crappy money for a college graduate, I was still pretty naive and felt that life might still work out and that hard work would provide it’s benefits in the future.  In other words, I was still stupid

I can remember when my attitude started to change… when I experienced my “awakening”.  I was driving in downtown Scottsbluff (it’s about five blocks long, so it was a short drive), when I was passed by a car.  This was not just any car, this was a fancy little BMW sportster.  You know, a silver little two-seater convertible jobbie.  And it had vanity plates.

Vanity plates.

And guess what vanity was expressed on those stinking license plates?

“DRTOOTH”

I crap you not.  Some dentist was driving around town in a $40,000-plus sports car and was letting everyone know that he bought that car through the cavities of the little children.  That is the exact moment that I decided that I was never going to go to a dentist again.  I was never going to help some arrogant SOB buy his next Mercedes or Beemer or country club membership or vacation condo in Las Vegas or Miami.  Thanks for the invitation, but I’m afraid that doesn’t sound like the kind of party I’m interested in attending.  Gather your wealth through the teeth of some other miserable assistant manager at some other crappy retail establishment, I’m gonna peace-out on this one.

And I have been peaced-out ever since.  My teeth, of course, are falling apart.  They are stained and cracked and filled with cavities.  I don’t think there is much enamel left, because sometimes too hot or too cold makes them hurt.  One of my back teeth that was filled decades ago when I last visited a dentist has had a huge crack down the side of it for almost 15 years.  Finally, a couple of nights ago while eating spaghetti (spaghetti, for crying out loud), that back half of the cracked tooth just disappeared.  I must have swallowed it.  Better I use it as roughage then let some dentist charge me hundreds of dollars to fix.  I have a wisdom tooth that has been trying to come in for the past 20 years, and it’s growing out of the side of my jaw.  It gets a little sore and leaks a little pus from time to time (I originally wrote that “my tooth gets a little pusy from time to time”, but I originally thought “pus” had two s’s… and that sentence made me laugh for longer than was appropriate, so I changed it… and then I pointed it out again here, because… damn it, it’s just funny).

The strange thing is, my mouth never really hurts.  Aside from the occasional sensitivity issues, and the wisdom tooth acting up on occasion, I feel little pain.  I know there have to be tons of cavities in that sucker.  I know all of the crack and chips should probably cause some discomfort, but they don’t.  Even when that stupid wisdom tooth starts acting up, I just gargle with some peroxide, and it feels better.  I brush at least twice a day, and I floss… I floss on occasion (special occassions, like Christmas and Martin Luther King’s birthday).

I know that I should probably go to see a dentist.  Modern dentistry is what sets us apart from neanderthals… like the British.  I know I could probably extend my miserable existence (oh yeah) by taking better care of my teeth.  I can just picture the look on the dentist’s face the first time he gets a gander inside my mouth.  You know how in cartoons the eyes roll like slots into dollar signs?  Well, my dentists eye’s are gonna roll into Beemers.  I just know it.

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Aug 04

Most of the people I work with on a daily basis have at least some innate artistic talent.  A couple of them can sing pretty amazingly, at least three of them have at least some skills on a guitar,

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Riff

"Who says you can't poop your pants and play guitar at the same time? I'll show 'em!"

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and one has mad-drum skills (or so he says).

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Erik... :)

"They need to put more warnings on that stupid Viagra!"

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There is some songwriting ability amongst the group, and one guy runs and DJs his own Internet radio station (as did a past coworker.)

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DJRon

"E=MC²? I don't think so. E=Contemporary Christian Rock, my friend."

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Some of them are even pretty good at designing Photoshop-type crap.  Working in an environment like that, for someone who has the creative skills of a lump of coal, can be disheartening.  Hell… it can be down-right depressing.

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hahaha

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I got no mad art skills.  I can’t sing or play guitar or draw or dance or act or design or much of anything else that could be considered creative.  I watch some mean TV, but I don’t think that counts for much.  I can eat like there’s no tomorrow, and that kind of creatively expands my circumference… but I may be grasping at straws.  Although there is reward, there is no award for couch-potatoship.

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fat ass

"Wash my socks? I didn't even know they came off!"

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The really sad thing is… you can’t “learn” creativity.  You can develop talent, but it’s pretty hard to take someone with no inherent ability and teach them a skill that involves creativity when the talent and creativity are completely foreign to that individual.  Anyone with two hands can learn to play the guitar.  If the person lacks actual talent and creativity, they will never really master the skill (or even get close).  I think there needs to be a little passion thrown in with the talent-creativity-mix as well.  I’m passionate about music… I love listening and I wish I could create, but I have neither skills nor creativity when it comes to music.  I love listening to a song that makes me think of a particular time, or a voice that calms me, or see a live performance that gives me goosebumps… and I’d love to be able to evoke those thoughts and emotions in complete strangers…

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rock on

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… but I can’t.

I think that people who have creative outlets, even if they aren’t making a living with their “art”, lead a more satisfying life.  I have nothing to back this thought up with, but it seems like it makes sense.  I know I’ve read stuff that says this is true… but I don’t feel like turning this into a research paper :)

Given the fact that I want to increase the satisfaction of my life, I figure I need to find some hidden talent for the creative that must be lurking somewhere deep within me.  Some of the motivational guru-types tell us that we should practice our “art” in whatever career related task we are doing.  By this, they are implying that every job can be looked at as somewhere one can apply creative talent, and you will do a better job if you hone your “artistic skills” when performing your job.  The problem with looking at a random job as a place to meet those creative aspirations is the “passion” I mentioned earlier.  We aren’t all going to be able to learn to be passionate about our jobs, and some of us have been through too many jobs to still believe we are ever going to find a job that fulfills us on a creative level.  To convince yourself that you can find a creative outlet in something you aren’t passionate about seems to me to be a little like settling.

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Oh Sh*t!

"Remember: close your mouth... close your mouth... close your mouth..."

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“Things aren’t ever going to get any better, so I need to do what I can with what I’ve got.”

Deciding to settle (giving up) may make life less stressful (for those with no creative outlet), or it might make make you want to pull your hair out…

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New Doo

Looks like someone realized she really doesn't have any talent?

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… or lose your mind.

On one hand, realizing that you may never have a creative outlet and accepting that fact must be kind of liberating.  You don’t have to worry about what that stupid life-satisfaction must be like any more.  On the other hand, it may not be liberating at all.

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hahaha

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All I have for a creative outlet is this stinking blog, and if you’ve read it, you know it’s not that creative at all.  Me bitching about stuff and posting pictures I’ve found on other web sites; I guess it’s a start.  What I need to do now is find my true calling… my true creative ability… the one skill that I can be passionate about using that will move or entertain others.  I need to figure out how bring my couch potato act to the stage…

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