Thursday, April 30, 2009

Every night, a beating (pt. 2)

Since July 2005 I have been employed by a sizable Memphis-based corporation, the locale of which I’ve distinguished over the years with a variety of disparaging names that are better left unmentioned. However crude and unnecessary the labels, I nevertheless find it odd to be grateful that I merely have a job, even one that takes such an arduous nightly toll as mine.

Like many of my fellow Gen Xers, I know what it is to be unemployed. I once went a full year without an income despite my corporate background and brand spankin’ new college degree, so the frustration of not being a regular tax payer isn’t foreign territory at all.

Additionally, the notion that I would have little trouble finding a suitable employer soon crumbled beneath the impact of a progressively deteriorating economy and the widespread reluctance to hire a late-20-something college grad who was trying to take his career in a direction that differed from his past work experience.

Ironically the occupation I ended up with -- the identity of which I’ve chosen to withhold -- was indeed strikingly different from all other jobs I’ve held in the past. Before I was a suit-and-tie guy. Now, and for nearly four years, I have come to epitomize the blue collar in a place that tests my mettle every night.

I attempt to keep the negative underpinnings of my job from encroaching upon life outside the workplace, and it helps to know that I'm far from the only one who can barely tolerate the thought of having to spend yet another night/morning in a work environment that has been known to incite violence.

Still the quality people I've encountered over the past 45 months (Non-Con/Gate 502, Load Team 7, etc.) have been largely overshadowed by an abundance of individuals who simply don't give a you-know-what. Whether it's inherent or learned, you'd be further shocked to find how some people have such a difficult time walking through an already open door. And that, in a nutshell, is the nature of the beast.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Every night, a beating (pt. 1)

The following is a non-fiction, third person narrative I wrote over three years ago about how I spent my 29th birthday. I'll explain more in part 2.


The long, unfriendly drive was not an unfamiliar one. Adam had taken this beaten path before. "This is not how I envisioned spending my 29th birthday." It was a notion Adam was unable to escape.

The thought of returning yet again to perhaps the most undesirable of locales turned his stomach, for it would require volumes to adequately explain how the vestiges of south Memphis made for many nauseating experiences in the past.

Though he'd seen it before, Adam found himself staring in amazement as he drove by the vacant lot where a once-massive cathedral of capitalism formerly stood. "That used to be the Mall of Memphis," Adam thought as he passed through the not-so-aptly named American Way.

Figures. Raleigh Springs is probably next.

A torrential down-pouring of finality set in as Adam approached Democrat Road. He briefly considered his options, however few they might've been, but relented when he came to grips with the reality that there was no going back.

Perhaps I should have taken the bank's offer after all.

Adam has held corporate-type jobs before, the most notable of which includes a five-year stint with a Memphis-based financial institution that actually sold itself out twice before the name was finally wiped from atop their headquarters.

That's where his brazen distaste of south Memphis originally came to fruition. In fact, Adam still blames middle management for the odium he maintains for The King's old neighborhood. The mere sight of Graceland now onset a plethora of flashbacks that compare to a corporate version of Vietnam, and it moreover supplied the basis for Adam's decision to not accept another bank job.

Surely I can do better.

It was that particular reckoning that played in Adam's head over and over again as he sailed toward a relatively obscure setting that more closely resembled a prison than that of a work environment.

Adam parked his car behind a chainlink fence that was fronted by an apathetic-looking woman who apparently represented the company's finest in security enforcement. It is doubtful she's ever done much of anything but stand in her upright box and wave people forward.

Our hero was instantly struck by the newness of his surroundings. The area was abstruse, not at all confining; yet he couldn't help but to feel almost overwhelmingly besieged by his new set of circumstances.

Time to take my man pill.

Adam forced himself to board a shuttle that was taking the new hires to orientation. He won't soon forget being packed in like cattle with such an over-abundance of morbidly obese individuals.

Adam eventually walked into a spacious room loaded with long faces. It was obvious that no one was especially pleased to be present, but even more noticeable was the sense that everyone was in the same boat regardless of background, circumstances or financial standing.

The evening was filled with what appeared to be mostly vacuous objectives. The long, drawn-out lectures and company produced videos (complete with only the finest in cheesy, synthesized background music) marked the beginning, middle and end of seemingly one trivial talking point after another.

Apparently many of the enigmatic rules and regulations are in place because of past employees who fabricated problems out of non-issues. As a result, no one is allowed to wear clothing that features a logo of any kind because someone might end up offended by it. I kid you not.

Interacting with his fellow new employees offered Adam a sense of just how demented our society is becoming. Though he gravitated towards three guys named Justin, Kyle and Judson -- "The Country Crew" they called themselves -- one could argue that the sizable classroom encapsulated a great deal of what our parents have been warning us about since childhood.

Adam picked out more than a few people who had that unmistakable I've done some hard time in prison look, including one guy who must've been a registered sex offender. Then there was Carl.

Carl was a tall, heavyset black man with cornrows. I say was because a single look at his otherwise effeminate features could bring one to assume that gender reassignment surgery was just around the corner. God help him.

The instructors didn't go so far as to tell the class that the work would be physically demanding, but Adam understood already that he could expect perpetual exhaustion. "So here I am," Adam thought. "Guess college was just a big waste." It was a defeatist perception, but Adam gets that way sometimes. Especially when a permanent escape from south Memphis appears all but hopeless.

It's my birthday and I'll cry if I want to.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Why "eccentric"?

Perhaps your definition of eccentricity differs from mine. I believe John Stuart Mill’s quote atop the page well explains how individuals of the acentric variety intend to present themselves, which varies, I think, from the common attributes of those who are merely tagged with the label.

Those who have known me for a while might suggest that my eccentricity centers more on personality than my perspective on politics, religion, history and social matters of every sort. Yet the prevailing notion of eccentricity among Right Wingers stands on the basis of comprehensive truth even in the face of every imaginable insult from both sides of the mainstream political spectrum. Still there are some things that cannot be overlooked.

Janeane Garofalo, for example, is perhaps the only woman capable of arising in me a sense of militant vehemence. Her pharisaical comments, most recently about the nationwide Tea Parties and the half-million people who attended, are close to unforgivable (which was probably the point):

"There is nothing more instant than seeing a bunch of racist become confused and angry at a speech they're not quite certain what he's saying. It sounds right to them, and then, and then it doesn't make sense, which... let's be very honest about what this is about. It's not about bashing Democrats, its not about taxes, they have no idea what the Boston Tea Party was about, they don't know their history at all. This is about hating a Black man in The White House. This is racism straight up. That is nothing but a bunch of tea-bagging rednecks. And there is no way around that."
-- Garofalo on "Countdown with Keith Olbermann," April 17, 2009

It has to make you wonder what society will be coerced into tolerating in the name of tolerance. And at present, there are few legitimate reflections more eccentric than that.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Wow, another blog. How original.

There are many reasons why people like, or feel a need, to blog. However pretentious the subject matter of majority, some actually prove their worth in taking up the cyberspace they inhabit, which presents a personal challenge of relevancy that's only worth undertaking if one has something halfway original to offer. This weblog, after years of tepid consideration, is my effort.

The Eccentric Conservative will hit on politics, current events, religion and personal observations that only possess the capacity to be interesting if I'm completely forthcoming. In light of this, I hope to make it worth your while (and mine). Enjoy.