The Mid-Life Career Change Crisis

Sometimes I feel like I need to sit down and write something on here again and I get an idea.  I ponder it, come up with clever statements about it, form opinions and take in the opinions of others.  I toss the idea around in my head over and over again until finally, I decide I have nothing original to say about it and scrap it altogether.

Wash, rinse, repeat . . . and then days lead to weeks which lead to months and this blog that I have dedicated so many hours to, remains silent.  I get lazy.  I work my ass off during the day and at night sit down and find it easier to pick up the PS4 or Xbox controller than to open up the computer and start to type.

I’ve got plug-ins on the static page that don’t work anymore because of updates to how some sites work, etc and I’ve left them there to just be a reason for people to visit and then decide I’ve abandoned it and they don’t return.  I need to work on them and I’m declaring right here, right now that I’m going to make the time to do it.  Opticynicism needs a face lift and I have to get off my ass and do it.

To answer the one or two of you that might still be around, I’m doing pretty good.  I take my medications as directed religiously and I have had no slides back into depression or otherwise debilitating events.  I work.  I come home, I play games on one of the boxes for a while, I go to sleep and then I go back to work.  Weekends are just extended periods of playing games on the box.  As much as I enjoy that and it keeps my blood pressure and stress levels down in the “green”, it’s not enough and I need to do more.  I’m not “living”.  I’m “existing”.

To this very day, I am still banging on the doors of the VA, trying to get in as a Federal employee at that hospital.  Three years I’ve been banging and three years they won’t open the fucking door.  My stubborn personality is the only thing that has kept that effort going this long, and the anti-depression meds keep me stable so that my stubborn personality can thrive.

In the meantime, I have been working in a menial delivery job.  I’ve been driving a box truck and delivering heavy freight.  I was recently laid off at one company (all of us were, we all came back from our deliveries one Friday a couple weeks ago and they called us all up and said “Thanks, but we’re shutting that office down.  None of you work here anymore.”  and yes . . . that is word for word what they said.)  As luck would have it, my driving record, customer history and recommendations from my previous boss, I was only out of work for about a week and I’m now doing pretty much the same thing but for a little more money working for a better company and had to go through a TSA screening because I am actually contracted through UPS and deal with a lot of international freight.

As would be expected, however, I’ve repeatedly asked myself, “This can’t be it, right?”

I’m working and doing ok, but honestly, without the continued help of, Liz most tremendously, and others as well, I’d still not be doing very well, and at some point, I need to find myself in some kind of state of independence.  I’m not exactly tipping the scales in the salary department and if I were to apply, I’d actually qualify for government assistance.  I’m not homeless based solely on the fact that Liz is a caring and generous human being.  I do what I can to keep her house in order (since she doesn’t actually live in it at the moment after taking a job out of state), but it feels unbalanced to me and that I just don’t do enough.  She repeatedly expresses her gratitude for what I do and does her best to make me feel that I contribute sufficiently, but my own lifelong self-deprecating attitude doesn’t allow me to accept it.

To that end, I’m continuously looking for ways to improve myself, my situation and my life.  Driving freight around sounds like a shitty job, and make no mistake, it is indeed a shitty job, but it does give me something I’ve really not had a lot of.  It has given me a lot of time alone, SOBER, with my thoughts.  Thanks to the iPhone, podcasts, Pandora, Spotify, YouTube and Netflix (before you freak out, I listen to comedy shows on Netflix and YouTube, I’m not watching my phone while I drive), I also get a lot of time listening to others and what they have done to improve their lives.

I’ve had a lot of ideas for blog posts, podcasts, video podcasts, commentaries and even books.  I’ve spent literally days weighing my strengths and weaknesses.  Things I can do and things I can’t.  Can I go back to school?  Sure, I can.  It’ll be a pain in the ass and I’ll have to do all kinds of shit that I neither want nor need to do to complete a degree, but eventually I’ll have a degree and then be a dude in his 50’s trying to get jobs dudes and dudettes in their 20’s are trying to get.  Then the question remains whether I’ll manage to finish school before our current administration destroys any chances of me doing so for one reason or another.  (You have no idea how hard it was for me to type that last sentence without cussing or making blatant anti-Trump remarks.)

So . . .

I’ve busted out nearly 1000 words to come to this point.  This is where I’ve landed and a conclusion I have come to.

Am I looking for your opinion and thoughts on the matter?  Yeah, I kinda am.

Am I going to do it even if you tell me I’m an idiot and I will fail?  Yeah, I definitely am.

Because this is something I feel and I can’t ignore it.

I’ve thought about this since I was in my TEENS.

There is one thing that has always brought me infinite joy.  A feeling that shines a light in my chest and makes me feel that everything is ok in the world.  A feeling that lets me fall asleep at night with a smile on my face and get a long, uninterrupted, satisfying nights sleep.  I’ve been madly in love with someone only a few times in my life and it is an incredible feeling, and this comes nearly as close as that.

I love, more than anything else, to make people laugh.

To me, there is nothing more satisfying in the world.  I will make a fool of myself and beat on myself to make it happpen.  I will paint a glorious visual image of a drab situation to make it funny so that the mundane becomes interesting.  I can take an insult as easily as I can give one and in the same breath, give an incredible compliment to diffuse confrontation.

I have used and continue to use humor to survive.

I am going to take a stab at stand-up comedy.

I’ve found the local “open mic night”.  It’s a bit intimidating because Tampa is not a small town and it’s not a small venue and it has spit out a few pretty damn famous people . . . but why start small.

I have been studying and listening to comedians for . . . hell, forever.  I watched Seinfeld before he had a TV show.  I remember going to see Red Skelton as a kid.  I defied my parents as a teenager to stay up and watch An Evening at the Improv.  I have read the blogs, listened to the podcasts and simply followed the careers of comedians from their early years to the recent ones.

Very nearly all of them have the art of storytelling in common, and boy, do I have stories.

Comedy is timing and emphasis and the ability to be relatable.

Comedy is the ability to take the things that make you miserable, or drive you crazy and make them funny so they are easier to swallow.

To me, comedy is not a job or something I have to work at.  It is a defense mechanism that I have used to survive.

I can tell a story and I can make the miserable funny.  I have done it right here.  I have made you (and others that have probably decided I abandoned the place) laugh at things that made me absolutely miserable.  Do the stories about my father ring any bells?  They should.  My readership went from the hundreds to the thousands on those stories alone.  By my own fault, those are numbers I have not seen in several years, but nonetheless, it worked then, it’ll work now.

Will I have to bash my father to make it happen?  Yeah, probably, but I give zero fucks.

I’ve asked myself if 49 is too old to try to start something like that.  I know I’m not the 24 year old stud I was as a fresh Marine Corps boot camp graduate.  I know the camera adds 10 pounds to the 40 pounds too much I already have.

I have also found that successful comedians are also intelligent, as am I .  They have solid and definitive opinions despite those that oppose them, as do I . . . and the number one, most important feature of all is that every single successful comedian is deeply and profoundly troubled for one reason or another, and if you think I might not qualify for that one . . . perhaps you may wanna read over the last few years of this blog.

If you think I’m looking for encouragement and positive words, you’re absolutely right, I am.  I am virtually incapable of giving them to myself, so I need the outside help to get them.  At the same time, I’m not looking for bullshit either.  If you think I’m an idiot for even trying, then say so.  God knows, I’ve said it to myself and even if I don’t want to believe it, I’m going to try it anyway and I have to be prepared for hecklers.  I’d like your honest opinions and encouragement if you have it.

When I was in my teens, I found it easy to get on stage and speak in front of hundreds of people.  It was easy for me and I loved it.  I haven’t done it since then and my anti-social, general hatred of the public that has developed since then is going to make trying to do it again even more difficult.

It scares the shit out of me.

But, by God, I’m going to do it.

I will not allow this to pass as a regret of something I wish I had always done.

I might fail, but I’m going to try.  Every successful comedian failed at some point, and many, more than once.  But they were persistent.  They had a passion and a desire and they pushed through and they succeeded despite the failures.

Funny thing is, the moment I’m actually successful at it . . .

. . . the goddamn VA will probably call with the job offer.

 

Peace, my friends . . . . please speak up!

Ok, I’ve had a shitty day . . . or two

Seriously, I got nothing.  I’d describe it but it looks miniscule and my peeps make me look stupid.

… and they would be right to do so.

I have a post I’ve been working on but can’t focus.  I have my friends in my mind and I don’t forget them.  Yeah, I made fun of the hurricane, she was a bitch, fuck her.

Good bye Irene.

On the positive note, my son proved his worthiness in the “Waechter volume of comedy worthiness tonight”.  I love that kid.  Can’t imagine where he gets that sense of humor from.

That’s my boy!

We saw this coming, and I’m not talking about Irene

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I saw it, every one of you that read my post the other day saw it, Emo-Boy cashier at the convenience store saw it . . . everyone but my father saw it.

My mother’s dance of happiness in the kitchen the other night was not in vain.  Friday morning they awoke to a wet kitchen floor and a warm refrigerator.  It could take no more and apparently was ready to give me the satisfaction of putting a final chapter on this saga.  The refrigerator was dead and it was going to stay that way this time.  Luckily it went out with some class and simply defrosted onto the floor, because my father paid no mind to the story I relayed to him from a good friend of mine who had lost an entire family of close relatives to a house fire that was ignited by a faulty refrigerator.  That wouldn’t happen to him because he’s too smart for that. Read the rest . . .

The Refrigerator and The Skunk

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I teased you just a bit with a hint of what was to come but unfortunately the story seems to have come to a stall.  The beginning of it is funny, and the ending has some great potential as well, it’s just . . . well, it’s dad.

You see, I was on the back porch of my parent’s house around 8:30 last night and my mother yelled out the window.  “Eric, get your father, something is wrong with the refrigerator!”

I yelled back up, ” . . . and you’re looking to make it worse?!”

“I’m serious, tell him to come up here!” Read the rest . . .

The video blog, poorly executed

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So this was a total experiment and I’m pretty sure it sucked, but I had to take a stab at it.  Either because I’m lazy and didn’t want to type, or I totally had nothing, I decided to make my post on video today.  Since so many of you have expressed your enjoyment of my posts about my father, I thought I’d do a little something with that.  So since he is out of town for the weekend, I raided his “Cave” and took you on a little tour.

Oh, and if you happen to be checking this out and you are my brother, totally don’t watch this while dad is down there visiting you this weekend.  😀 Read the rest . . .

Rumination with LEGO’s

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I get the privilege for the next week of having my 6 year old nephew around with us.  Every summer for the last couple of years, he has come up to the mountains because he enjoys the time here and it gives my brother and sister-in-law a little bit of a break.  Well, as much of a break as it can be since they still have the 2 year old with them, but still, it lightens the load.

(I will refer to my nephew as B.B. for purposes of this blog, since he is Bacon’s son, he’ll be Bacon Bit.) Read the rest . . .

Don’t hate the internet because of a few 100 million bad eggs

Creepy speedo guy with guns

Rightfully so, we spend a lot of time and caution teaching our kids to be careful on the internet, and a lot of parents don’t let their kids on it at all.  It is certainly filled with a metric shit-ton of horrible things we don’t want them to see or gain access to.  There are pedophiles and stalkers and burglars scouting places to rob homes.  That is on the more harsh end of the spectrum.  On the other end you have spammers and hackers and people that steal your credit card number.  The internet certainly has its creepy alleys in the red light district of the planet. Read the rest . . .

Please, God, tell me my real father was actually the mailman.

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I seriously considered not writing this post at all because you have to be growing weary of the “dad” stories, so I asked some of my regulars if they were getting tired of it.  The responses I got were positive so I decided to go for it.  My favorite response was from Tom (AKA: Zippy if you also read through the comments to my posts).

“That shit is like boobies and pussy.  You never get tired of looking at it and you always want more!”

I never tire of his eloquence. Read the rest . . .

Getting your Masters Degree in Emailing

I wish I could tell you how many times I’ve had this thought around my father.

I’ve wandered across a few different topics in the last couple of weeks and I think it’s time to go back to one that I’ve talked about before.  That’s right, kids!  It’s the return of  . . .

My father.

*collective groan*

If you need to catch up on the individual of which I speak, check out this and this and this.  The man is . . . special, what can I say.

Suddenly and without any warning, Father announced that he was getting rid of his DSL internet service and Direct TV and switching to cable for both.  It’s sudden because well, nobody knew he was even thinking about it because it was something that pretty much every member of the family suggested he do pretty much since . . . the beginning of time, but we didn’t know what we were talking about and it was nothing but a waste of money and they just rip you off, so we were summarily dismissed. Read the rest . . .