If You Fear Change, Try Embracing It . . . Around It’s Throat

Things, they are a-changin’!

Not really the way I expected, but they are.  I skipped a week making a post . . . or was it two?  I don’t know, I’m too lazy to look at the date on the last post to figure it out.  Lazy?  Tired?  I just don’t care?

Yeah, all of those.

Let me try to sum this up as quickly as I can.  (I just heard all of you call me a long-winded fuck, just relax.)

With all the changes over the past year or more, with Liz taking a job and moving to Georgia . . . and then taking another job . . .and staying in Georgia.  Anyway, that’s a long story and not mine to tell, but what it came down to is that Liz has been thinking about selling this house in Florida.  A completely understandable and fully expected decision that I knew would happen.  It only makes sense.  I’d been toying around with looking for a place of my own finally anyway and it just plain needed to happen.

Here is the twist to that . . . the next door neighbor put his house up for sale, and as it turns out, got a pretty good price for it, so Liz gave a Real Estate agent a call just to see what he thought she could get for it.  Long story short, it went down like this . . .

  • Real Estate agent said he knew somebody that wanted to move down here and could he show him the house
  • House was cleaned and prepped in a single weekend for the showing on that Monday
  • Dude liked the house and made an offer
  • Liz made a counter offer, and it was accepted
  • They want to close on Aug. 17

In summary, the house was prepped, shown, and sold within a few days . . . and NEVER went on the market.  At a profit.

Can’t really blame her for that now, can ya?

At any rate, I think we’re all in kind of a panic.  I’ve got to find a place that I can afford in less than a month, which isn’t easy, because I can’t afford much.  I’m just a dude that values his being alone all the fucking time, so I just need a studio or 1 bedroom place for like $500.  $600 tops.  They are around and they exist, unfortunately my credit score makes this a bigger hurdle than I would like.  I’ll need a cosigner OR I can get a trailer in a meth riddled trailer park with no credit check.  In hurricane country.

Now Liz is also trying to figure out how to live in Georgia and be down here to pack up 10+ years of her life and either distribute or sell much of the furniture she has here and have this place emptied in less than a month.  On top of that, she’s been helping me to find a place during the day because my job doesn’t allow me the time to look very much myself.  She almost hit the jackpot today but then the “landlord” (an AirBnB host) said it was just for a month because of family obligations.  (The damn place would have been PERFECT) There are complications with her job and a new relationship she’s been enjoying up in Georgia and all this went down so fast, it has been a whirlwind for all of us.

We all know we’ll get it figured out and work through it and all will be well and good in the end, but at this point we all wish we could just fast-forward to somewhere around October where we’ve come out the other side and we’re facing all new and improved stresses over completely unrelated shit.

Personally, it’s something I had been planning on anyway . . . getting my ass out on my own, taking care of my own shit.  As life sometimes does, it sorta got tired of me taking my time and said “Let’s DO this shit already!”

For Liz, it was something she was planning on doing as well and the same shit went down for her.

So, here we are.  For the next month, I’ll help Liz out helping her get stuff sold and moving things to storage or wherever (the new boss is much more pleasant about letting me use the truck for personal shit) and she’ll help me looking for a new place and stuff.  A month from now, the dust will settle and we’ll all be . . . .

some-fuckin-where.

For those of you asking what this means for my quest for stand-up comedy, it doesn’t mean anything except a slight delay in the chase.  It’s been 30 years since it first occurred to me that I wanted to do it, so I suppose another month isn’t going to ruin it any more than it already has been.  I’m still searching the open-mic nights and still writing stuff in my little notebook (although I didn’t have it with me today and I thought of some shit that had me laughing my ass off in the truck today and I completely forgot what it was now . . . it’ll come back to me) and I’m listening to a lot of comics and their podcasts along the way.  I’ve been searching open-mics here in town and as far away as Orlando, Ft Lauderdale, West Palm Beach and Miami.  (One thing I have learned from listening to how comics got where they are is, be prepared to drive . . . a LOT)  One podcast I’ve found in particular is called “The Comedian’s Comedian with Stuart Goldsmith” and he spends every episode interviewing comedians to find out their writing methods, techniques and how they get their ideas and it is an AMAZING resource.  The biggest problem with it at the moment is that I listen to it in the truck all day long and with the current situation I’m in, my mind is elsewhere and I have come to the end of full hour podcasts and realized that I didn’t hear a single friggin’ word of it because I’m all “dammit, where am I gonna find a place . . . there?  Maybe there?  Shit, I can’t afford that.”

All it means is that I just have to slow down a bit and focus.  Nobody became a comedian in a month, but people have found a place to live in that amount of time, so that’s what I gotta focus on now.

On that note, I’ve been thinking about starting a podcast myself, I’m just not sure where to go with it.  If any of you have an idea of what you might like to hear from me (and eventually see because they have all gone the way of YouTube as well), throw me some suggestions.  I’m sure you don’t want to hear me talk to myself for an hour (maybe you do, I don’t know.  My head gets fuckin’ weird sometimes), but I can think of a few people out there I would love to have a live chat with on a podcast because we have come up with some funny shit together (Hey LEO, you readin’ this?!)  I just need to come up with some kind of format.  All suggestions are welcome.

That’s my update, kids.  I look forward to hearing from you all.

Oh, and follow me on Twitter.  I’m trying to be more active there.  @eric_waechter  I’ll try to be funny.

I said “try”.

For those of you that know me and have followed me for the last few years . . . no, I don’t want to drink, and I am encouraged by that.

Why ruin chaos with insanity?

(That’s brilliant.  Consider that copyrighted immediately.)

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!

Self-Induced Customer Service and Other Reasons I’m an Idiot

Denise is laughing her ass off at this meme right now.
Denise is laughing her ass off at this meme right now.

I may have mentioned in passing somewhere in my last post that I wrote like a year ago or two weeks or something like that, that I was about to embark on a temporary adventure into the rideshare experience.

I’ve done it and this was my second weekend offering my personal vehicle to the drunk and disorderly of the Tampa/Saint Petersburg/Clearwater vicinity.  Admittedly, this weekend was a tad slower than the previous one because we were largely under water.

No, that is not a figure of speech.

Welcome to South Tampa!!
Welcome to South Tampa!!
BWWAAAAAAAAAAHAAAAAAAAHAAAAAAHAAAAAA *gasp* *gasp* AAAAAAAAAAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!
BWWAAAAAAAAAAHAAAAAAAAHAAAAAAHAAAAAA *gasp* *gasp* AAAAAAAAAAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!

So, needless to say, driving around Tampa, and in particular South Tampa, has not been recommended.  Unfortunately, most of the good “party areas” of Tampa are located in South Tampa and also where the best rideshare money is to be made.  So whether you prefer Uber or Lyft or the criminals that drive the yellow cars, none of them are offering boats or any other watercraft.

Last weekend was a different story.

My adventure started in Brandon, Florida.  For those of you not from the area, it’s basically East Tampa and not really known for it’s party scene.  There are like three bars in Brandon and to hear Liz describe it, those are the bars you go to after you have failed to get laid at a bar in Ybor City at 2 in the morning.

The Bars of the Lonely and still pretty ugly even after 12 beers.

By the end of the night (defined as 4:00 am Sunday morning) I actually had to open Google Maps to figure out where in the hell I was.

Turns out I was 40 miles away on the North side of Clearwater.

And in that one night I had pretty much run the gambit as to the level of idiot that needs to be driven home.

I had the uptight douche who wanted the cheapest ride possible but was offended when I didn’t come to pick him up in a Porsche.  (The app tells the rider what kind of car I’m driving.  Don’t like it, cancel the ride, Assface.)

I had the recently divorced woman that insisted on sitting in the front seat that instructed me to drive 6 miles to get to a bar that was a mile away, then wanted to “chat” while we sat in the parking lot of the destination bar.  (Sorry, 13 cents a minute is NOT enough for this shit!)

I had the extremely drunk dude that entered my car “pre-pissed off” and I got to listen to him tell me why he was pissed for the next 12 miles while he punched the back of my passenger seat.

The trip of the night, however, was the crowd that crammed itself into the back AND front of my car and attracted the attention of the cops standing nearby.

This trip was off to a stellar start.

. . . but lucky for you . . . my camera was installed and functioning.

IMG_1110
Yes, you can click this and make it bigger.

IMG_1111

 

IMG_1109

 

. . . and they rode like that for 34 friggin’ miles.

Douchebag in the front seat was passed out for most of it, thankfully.

Girls sang for most of it . . .

. . . when they weren’t referring to me as “Ewic”.

Other two dudes in the back seat also passed out.

Fortunately, no vomit was introduced during this ride or any other that night.

Also, while I have the software that blurs out faces in videos, I found that shit to be harder to do than my lazy ass is willing to get into at this point in time, so that being said, there may be an unblurred link to the YouTube video of this group as they piled in my car hidden somewhere in this post.

This is a completely random image placed here for no reason and is absolutely NOT a hidden link to a YouTube video.
This is a completely random image placed here for no reason and is absolutely NOT a hidden link to a YouTube video.

On the plus side, the money is every bit as good as they say it is.  I actually did really well.  I used a tank and a half of gas last weekend and made enough to fill it 8 and a half times, so all things considered, I’m pretty pleased with the income potential.

Most importantly because Thursday was payday for both the hospital as well as the rideshare company and guess which one fucked up my direct deposit?!

The Feds at their finest, of course.  If it hadn’t been for rideshare, I’d have had no money this weekend.

For those of you that use services such as Uber or Lyft or whatever that other one is, I’m gonna pass you some advice that the companies that provide the service won’t tell you:

  • Tipping is not required, but it is not forbidden as some have been led to believe.  It’s also a nice thing to do, particularly if you have just been given a $4 ride to go three blocks because you’re too drunk to stumble that far.  There’s a good chance the driver had to drive 6 miles to pick you up to go three blocks.
  • Tipping is also a nice thing to do if you’re a dick.
  • That “star rating system” is a thorn in our side.  In most cases, the company will drop us if our rating drops below 4.6, which can happen pretty quickly with every jackass that would have preferred a Porsche.  General rule is, if you arrived in one piece and the driver didn’t give your girlfriend a purple nurple, give him or her 5 stars.  Unless I get puke in my car or I am physically assaulted, you’re getting 5 stars.  (Yes, the drunken crowd of 5 got 5 stars, even if I did want to stab the guy in the passenger seat.)
    IMG_0013
  • Yes, there are a lot of stories on the news about us.  It is not because we are bad, or expensive or a rip-off.  We are in the news because damn near every taxi cab organization in the country is twelve kinds of pissed because we are doing their job BETTER and CHEAPER in SAFER cars with drivers for which ENGLISH is their first language.

For those of you that don’t use any of these rideshare services, I highly recommend that you start.  You’ll never take a cab again.

On that note, I’m calling it a night.  I have to get up early in the morning and go to work at a place that I hope will pay me to be there this week.  I’ll try to post some more good stories from the road as well as videos for your twisted enjoyment.

. . . and don’t forget to tip your drivers!!

“Like a fucking angel but with curse words and prescription drugs”

lovepleb
@RavingPleb

Yep, that’s me!

Quite possibly the greatest compliment I’ve ever received since starting this blog ever.  Left to me in a comment yesterday by the yet another new woman I am in love with, @RavingPleb at, of course, The Raving Pleb.  I was so touched I had to Tweet it immediately . . . and post it on both my personal Facebook page and the Opticynicism Facebook page.  It was so fucking beautiful, I just had to make it the title of tonight’s post, because aside from still being a relatively boring day yet again, things actually kinda went ok for me today.  So to start the day with that compliment, it simply gave a little foreshadowing to the rest of the day. Read the rest . . .

Jackshit Monday, how to get jackshit done!

Good advice no matter what day of the week it is.
Good advice no matter what day of the week it is.

It’s another Monday in Florida and my quest to make my niche here continues.  It’s Monday and by definition they are kind of supposed to suck, but this is kind of how every day goes for me around here lately, so if you want to know how the “day in the life of me” goes, it’s a little something like this:

Monday for me, as with any other day does not begin without coffee.  Nothing happens until there is coffee.  Nothing good, anyway. Read the rest . . .

Save me some time and combine the misery

This isn't too far off of my mindset right now.
This isn’t too far off of my mindset right now.

Now that things seem to be settling down a little bit, at least with the website at least, I’m gonna try to get back to the funneh.  So let me tell you a little bit about the experiences I’ve been going through since my arrival in Florida.

First things first, let me express my gratitude to my great friend Liz who has provided me with a roof over my head, food and invaluable assistance in making my way through the VA system.

A system which is neither efficient nor quick.  It also lacks any semblance of common fucking sense.  You see, I’m going through them to get my treatment for depression, my vision (or lack thereof) and some anxiety (both pre-existing and actually being caused by the system and the Florida DMV) and my otherwise general health. Read the rest . . .

This is the NEW new Opticynicism

newopticyn

The transition has been made and while some of you may still experience some problems over the next couple of days, the move has been made and the blog is no longer in the confining, clutching hands of WordPress.com.

In truth, I’ve actually deactivated the wordpress.com site altogether.  Well, I didn’t deactivate it, I simply renamed it, which sort of solved the problem of people trying to come to this website and still getting redirected to the old one. Read the rest . . .