I quit smoking yesterday



Since I need to focus my attention elsewhere, I’m not sure if that means I will posting way more on this blog, or way less over the next few days. Only time will tell. All I know is that I hate it, and I really don’t get any pleasure out of it, and it will be a huge relief when it is all over.

The common wisdom is that you don’t tell anyone that you are quitting. I’ve tried the common wisdom thing many times with no positive results. So I figured, what the hell, I’ll blog it.

I was going to make this a New Year’s resolution – but I was inspired to quit and didn’t want to wait. The I was going to make it a Christmas present to Janelle, but I still didn’t want to wait, and I’m really doing for myself anyways.

My posts over the next several days may sound angry. Just forgive me and keep coming around!

I look good on paper, but…

photoIn the last two days, I have twice heard people comment that they look good on paper, but they feel as if there is a disconnect between that and how they feel in reality. These individuals have amazing credentials, but aren’t experiencing what they would would expect that someone with these credentials would be experiencing.

They are searching for something that doesn’t exist.

We expect to emotionally feel similar to the way that we look on paper, because deep down when we see how others look -on paper- we assume that they feel that way. The disconnect isn’t between how we appear and how we feel, the disconnect takes place due to our particular notions of certain people. If we look at someone we greatly admire, most of the time we expect that that person emotionally experiences what we are experiencing as we admire them. We have to keep in mind that they are not. They are living their own personal feelings completely disconnected from our expectations.

This is because the whole of a person is so much greater than the sum of everything that they can put forth in their image. I said in my “Creating Your Life’s Composition” post that a person’s life can’t really be categorized well, and never completely. In general, people who are successful or admired decide to put only the best stuff “out there for the world to see” (best stuff according to their standards), and hiding everything else, keeping it as private as possible. I want to emphasize that I use “best stuff” very, very loosely. Someone’s best stuff may possibly be publicly working out some of their “worst stuff”, and that can make them successful or admired. I suppose it would be better to use a phrase like “most interesting stuff”.

When we see how good we look on paper, any paper, but we don’t feel like that amazing person that we’re reading about, and there is a good reason – The paper isn’t complete. It isn’t the whole story, and we know the WHOLE story:

On paper, I’m a working musician, magician, and writer with a handful of books, albums, public appearances, lots of big and little kudos to throw out there for the world to see. I have a beautiful wife, a great family, a house, my own woods, ideas for making my homestead sustainable, a new car, a pickup truck, and the list goes on…If that was the whole of my existence, I would either be ignorant and exceptionally happy, or analytical and extremely bored. What is not on paper are all my personal issues, health problems, relationship issues, insecurities, and other baggage that I want to keep private or are simply not fit for public consumption. I want to list some of these things in detail, but I would do so at the risk of dominating this essay and obscuring the meaning. My point is that all that great stuff is not the sum of who I am.

Life would be much simpler if we decided to not expect to feel a certain way. Just live whatever you feel without setting yourself up for disappointment by unrealistic emotional expectations. Be proud of yourself on paper and everywhere else. And when you consider any other person, know that they don’t feel like they look on paper either. Because life is huge.

My Life in Jobs (you might live longer…)

“You might live longer, but you won’t outlive me.”

-Doug Stone

Society has been telling me for years that I need to have one, solid 40 hour a week job. Something that will provide for now, and for retirement. This is the same society that has been telling me that I can do anything I want to do, and be anything I want to be. I have rejected the first advice, and accepted the second. I imagine that no matter what happens, or how much money I have, I’m not going to retire, I’ll just work ‘til I’m gone.

I don’t mind writing for no personal credit, I don’t mind working on projects which put me in the background. I am living my life right now. I can’t see the advantage of waiting until I retire to travel the world and enjoy life. And what have I sacrificed? Just stuff, stuff that I don’t really need anyways. I could work my ass off, buy a $300,000 home that I cannot enjoy because I am not going to be spending any time there until retirement, or an amazing car that I just drive to work. These (and more) would be just social status icons that I wouldn’t really appreciate anyways.

I’m making my way doing more than simply existing. I still work, make enough money for my style. And I work on the beach. Or in my backyard. Or in another country. I do it anywhere. Anytime. While I travel, while I take care of things at home.  My house is full of guitars, keyboards, computers, books, cameras, paintings, things that keep me thinking in terms of creativity.

Don’t get caught in the American Dream. It’s a nightmare. Find what you love to do, and do it.

Here are the things that I have loved and hated until I got where I am today:

Mobile Mower Mender (Erie, PA) – Working at my dad’s business learning how to repair small engines and deal with customers.

Unnamed Rental Agency (Erie, PA)

McDonald’s (Erie, PA)- The one on Peninsula. Probably did this for about three months. I got chastised for dropping a bun. Never went back. Never looked back.

Giant Eagle (Erie, PA) – another short term. and my first union job.

Bello’s Food Mart (Erie, PA) – On West 8th. I got fired over a misunderstanding about paying for a can of soda before I drink it.

Festival Foods (Erie, PA) – The old Super Duper building. About 6 months?? I liked the job, but one of my friend’s wanted to go hang out one night, so he called in for me. He called in quit, not sick.

Cooper’s Kart and Engine (Erie, PA) – The old GoKart track where Lowes now stands on Asbury Rd.

Players (Erie, PA) – Barback

Lynch Music (Fairview, PA) – Started teaching piano when I was 19.

Fairview Hardware (Fairview, PA) – Mower repair, parts desk

Coyote Joe – My first professional band

Gerlach’s Garden Center (Erie, PA) – Mower repair, parts desk.

Sun TV (Erie, PA) – Where Best Buy is now on Peach

Sierra Rose – my next professional band

Rolling Fields Church (Jeffersonville, Indiana) – Worship Band Leader

Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (Louisville, KY) – Film Crew, temp job

Bigfoot Gas Station (Jeffersonville, IN. Sellersburg, IN. Georgetown, IN) – Station Attendant

GE (Louisville, KY) – Administrative/Data Entry

Maryhurst (Louisville, KY) – Youth Counselor

Bales Motor Co. (Jeffersonville, IN) – Car Sales, when I realized I was no good at this, Service Writer’s assistant (which I subsequently learned was ALSO a sales job)

Skip Jacks – (A seafood restaurant)

State Street Baptist Church (New Albany, IN) Worship Leader

UPS (Louisville, KY) – Load Crew

The Capital News (Corydon, IN) – Investigative Reporter

Contractor Assistant (Jeffersonville, IN)

Fort Knox (Fort Knox, KY) – Computer Operator, project

Dunbar Armored/Dunbar Global Logistics (Louisville, KY) – Driver/Guard, Dispatcher, Crew Chief. Quit when I moved to Erie.

Freelance Piano Teacher (Louisville, KY)

Street Team

Magician (Louisville, KY & Erie, PA & other places)

Tutor (Jeffersonville, IN & Erie, PA) – Tutoring college students

Unnamed Rental Agency (Erie, PA)

Website Designer (Louisville, KY & Erie, PA)

Small Town Revolution – Band

The Fox and Hound (Erie, PA) – Janitor, Food Prep

Freelance Writer

Various Online Endeavors.

So there is my list. 37 Jobs in 39 years. (Started my first job at 16, so actually 37 jobs in 23 years.) This is not a résumé. In fact, I will never create a résumé again. Our society would say that this is irresponsible. But it’s made me who I am today. I believe that listing everything I’ve learned at these jobs is worthy information to fill a few books.

Cool Runnings,