I’ve spent the last 3 days in a convention hall, trapped like a veal in a 20 foot by 20 foot trade show booth. It’s tough duty (relative to my general day to day sales guy tasks), but as the foot traffic settles, and I have quiet, calm moments in this tempestuous sea of commerce; I’m forced ponder my station in the professional world…my calling:
As a job, as a livelihood, am I really doing what I should be doing?
After my exotic dancing career ended unceremoniously, I struggled with finding something I was passionate about. Back then I was passionate about football, but most of those jobs were already taken by football players, so nothing really materialized in that sector. I kinda hopped from job to job until I was lucky enough to step into a perfect (for me) sales career.
Perfect, because this is a small, relationship driven industry, and it will have global relevance for the rest of my lifetime. The relationships usually become friendships because the vendor (me) and the consumer (everyone else) equally depend on each other for their livelihood, so we all have to maintain a level of integrity. Jerks and snake oil types don’t do very well in my industry.
Lucky, because I’m only really good at two things:
1. I can throw a crumpled piece of paper into a trash can from great distances
2. I can make friends easily
But could it be that this luck is also a curse?
As I sit on this hard plastic chair, pondering these questions under the bright and unflattering convention hall lighting, I think of the Lloyd character, (John Cusack) in the movie, Say Anything. Lloyd was asked by the father of the high school valedictorian girl he’s falling in love with, “What are your plans for the future…” His response was basically that he didn’t want to “buy anything, sell anything, or process anything.” He was essentially trying to explain that he was 18 years old, and he didn’t know what he wanted to do with his life. At 18, how could he? He liked kickboxing, and his ambition to excel in this sport made him look like a “champion of mediocrity” compared to the overachieving object of his affection.
I’m 55, that’s like one third of the way through my earthly journey, and I still can’t say that I know what to do with my life.
My wife, my healthy babies, my faithful hound, hops, slow dancing, yoga pants, and my job are Heavenly proof that there is a God, and this God loves me. So obviously, I’m not complaining.
But as much as He or She loves me, I still don’t know what I want to do, or what I should do, and it makes me wonder, and constantly imagine possibilities. I don’t want to think about it all the time, but…I think about it all the time.
I just wish I could be given some kind of sign, a navigational beacon in the raging storm of the self-perceived aimlessness that’s in my head…a lightning bolt to the testicles that says, “Large Man, you need to be a ____”. Maybe the signs are there, but I don’t have the wisdom to recognize them.
Based on several conversations I’ve had, it’s not uncommon for the 50 something, somewhat accomplished man, to ask himself: Am I doing all that I can, or all that I should? What is it that will make me content with this place in the Universe?
(“somewhat accomplished” may be a stretch for me, but the point is the same)
I’m not talking about “…doing all I can, or should…” for humanity, or the environment or anything like that; I don’t care about that stuff. I’m not really thinking about a social agenda for the greater good. I’ve never really reaped any reciprocity for my efforts to benefit the greater good, and I’ve gathered no signs or direction from those efforts either, so the greater good will have to toil without me for the next 500 words or so.
I’m just talking about me, maybe my wife and kids, but that largely depends on how the house looks, and what’s for dinner when I get home. If it’s Tuna Penne, and if my daughter’s shoes are scattered about the foyer, then they’re out of my circle of concern as well.
Shouldn’t we all take some time to be a little selfish? Maybe at least dream a little selfishly?
If I could have any job I wanted right now, my dream job, with no repercussion from family, friends, or society…or the people at this convention hall, I would be a writer…maybe. Or I would manage a 7-11 or some kind of convenience store, but I’m not generally very good with schedules, and I lose keys all the time, so security might be an issue in a retail environment. Plus, I’m not good with cash, making change and such, so I probably need to stick with being a writer. I think the way it works with writers, is you pretty much go anywhere you want to go, anytime you wish to go there, and with whomever you wish to go with, and that “whomever” probably handles your cash.
I think I want to write Large Man tales from the shores of the outer banks of North Carolina, in a writer’s studio that overlooks the ocean, while sharing a property line with a women’s prison for the criminally insane. I would be a volunteer in the library, ‘cause I’m a writer and everything, so I’m qualified. I think that even a guy like me would get some hot action in a situation like that. The thought of there being a better than 70% chance that you could be stabbed with a prison shiv fashioned from a toothbrush or a spoon, would have to add a little spice and anticipation to your day to day sexual activity.
In the basement of my house on the shore, next to the women’s prison…for the criminally insane, I think it would be prudent to have a small batch brewery. I would make Large Man Lager, and Big Daddy IPA, and a seasonal brew yet to be named. I could have trustees from the criminally insane women’s prison working there as part of a community outreach program – I could probably get federal and state funding for the project, because of all the criminal insanity.
And then I would write stories about the day to day occurrences that would occur, on a day to day basis, in the library and at the brewery. My “inspiration well” would probably never run dry.
I’m not feeling any private part lightning bolts just yet, but I think I may be onto something here. I can look for the signs later.
At the very least, I need to initiate a feasibility study, apply for some grants, and start a property search. I only have about 12 more years to work, so I need to get busy. I wonder how long it takes to build a prison for criminally insane women on an eroding beach head. I wonder if zoning will be an issue.
There’s a lot to wonder about and ponder. I’ll let you know how it goes.
Thanks for reading.