Fuck Yes…

There is an amazing article I read… Thank you Facebook Sharing.

Fuck Yes, or No By Mark Manson.

Pure genius. Not because it’s revolutionary, but because it’s what has always been true. It’s slightly juvenile in the sense that it is aimed at relationships and the courting process, but still holds more weight than many other things… I’ve thought about this article quite a bit lately.

As much as I would like to say I’m motivated to have a relationship, I find that most of the time I’m in a state of ‘Meh’… I used to think that something was wrong with me when I couldn’t quite figure out what someone else was thinking or feeling. Hence, I turned to straight sex in my past. Now, I turn to plain old ‘ignore-ance.’

For whatever issues I’ve been raised with, this spills over into so many other areas of my life. Jobs, goals, family, … even cars. I go so far and soon realize “This isn’t what I’m supposed to be doing”… and if I catch myself in time, I’ll escape and move along.

This idea of ‘Fuck Yes or No’ is something that I wish more people could understand.

Why on earth should it be ok to pursue something that doesn’t pursue you? I’m not religious in the traditional sense, but I tend to have faith in whatever happens, happens. Truth is, it’s worked out pretty damn well. I still get hurt feelings and my pride gets roughed up a bit but ya know what? Who the fuck cares? If I was able to go back in time and tell myself ten years ago that I would have done everything I did, I’d call bullshit. And if I wouldn’t believe it, how the hell do I expect anyone else to believe that I could do it all over again? And who has the balls to stick around while it happens?

Well shit…

I’m realizing it’s really time for something new to happen in my life. Hopefully I’m in some sort of control of what happens.

For the last many months I’ve been trying to wrap my head around some craziness that has occurred in my life. I’ve also realized that there really truly, is nothing stopping me from doing anything worthwhile except for… myself. No, really…

The Dog House Saloon in Fayetteville, NC was where it all came together. Well, most of it. Some of it came from the once in a lifetime love affair I had with a Colonel’s wife. Anyways. I’d drag the Harley out of the garage most nights and ride straight down to have a few cold ones. Coors Light was my vice at the time. Maybe it was the fact that I had a for-real Harley that I got treated like family there, but one of the best things about that place was when I walked in, I didn’t even have to ask for a drink. Daniel, Sarah, Chris, Tara Lee, Clint…. and Ame… Oh, Ame… You were the butter to my bread when I was able to drag you out for company… Or karaoke… Or just kickin’ it listening to cover bands all night.

I remember sitting there one day with Daniel and I said… “I’m going to open a place when I get out.” I was never so sure of anything in my life until that point. Well, mo-fuckers…. I did it. It was a humbling experience really. I got support from people I never expected and I also got hands held out from people I never expected. I lost my soul in that place. It was the moment I’ve written about before in this blog… I sold my .45 to quell those thoughts from coming to fruition. Though I wasn’t a high volume place, I was always running out of food, short staffed and I found myself starting at zero every damn month. What could have catapulted me to the next level was spent on keeping people off my back. It’s surprising who has your back when such things are on the line.

I’m determined to open another place. Or multiples of places. As much as it’s about the money, it’s really about the passion you find within yourself to do something. I can’t quite preach the ideals that I think will carry me through to the next big thing in life, but I can do my best to wrangle up the demons that seem to keep me from progressing.

Somewhere, deep down the fire is still alive… and I’ll be able to tell a bad-ass story someday.

Don’t be a douche…

Karma will inevitably come back to you. I’m living proof of that. Though I’ve been living for myself in a little different manner lately, I’ve had my fair share of nefarious activities in the past that have come back to haunt me in more ways than one.

I don’t have enough fingers and toes to count the number of douche-bags I’ve had the pleasure of dealing with in my life. With the shit I’ve put up with and experiences I’ve had, I can take quite an objective look at things now. Especially when it comes to watching some of these idiots from my own gender act the way they do in front of women. I’d love to make an example out of one of my recent experiences with one of the douche-clan members but I’ll afford karma a bit more time to do her thing.

There’s a little thing called ‘bird dogging’ that a lot of these young’ns don’t understand. It’s not just about women either. It can be from many avenues of life. Salesmen, Drivers, Friends, Family, Military, Nature… Someone will almost always be available to come in and take advantage of your situation when you let your guard down. It’s also part of the Bro Code. Not the ‘How I met Your Mother’ version, but the real, no shit, die for your brother kind of version.

Now this concept of Bird Dogging can apply to either sex and really any individual that has something someone else wants and has started working for. You can’t win against a Bird Dogger. All you can really do is cock your head to the side like a confused puppy, drop the mic, turn around and start over again. If you try to call someone out as they are bird dogging, they’re already prepared with a rebuttal that’ll make you look like an idiot. “What are you talkin’ about man? I’m just sittin’ here chillin’…” You look like the neurotic one at that point.

Ever worked in sales? Same thing. I worked with a bonified snake quite a few years ago selling cell phones. It’s a lucrative business and commissions were outrageous. We could make ten grand a month if we were good enough. This snake used to literally wait until I turned around for a second then he would find a way to talk to potential buyers. He’d posture himself where the other salespeople would look like the uninformed newbies and the customer would end up buying from him. He’d take the sale of course. His karma came way later but what made it worse is that the customers he sold to, he lied to. So most of the time when he was snaking a sale, one of his prior customers would come in wanting answers. Being in a sales AND customer service position, the rest of us were left handling his shit work without getting paid more than a base salary (beans compared to the commissions).

More importantly, the game of courting a person of interest is where Bird Dogging really shines. You know, the time you have a few friends over and you invite someone you’re interested in. You literally do something so simple as using the restroom and your ‘buddies’ have already started taking their positions with the target. They carefully watch your every move and as soon as you may be at risk of being put in the dreaded friend zone, they kick up the charm and divert any chance of affection away from you and on to something else.

Now, for a handful of little pukes that I’ve dealt with in the past, they think it’s all about getting some ass, or not. It’s really not, in my book at least. Sometimes mature people understand that things need to be cultivated and nourished. Not for the potential of plowing that specific field per say, but to refine a reputation and character that other people will take notice to. It’s almost like a cartoon skit from the eighties. You get a lot of people out there that want to pick up where they think others should leave off.

I see this in business as well. I was never really at risk of someone actually ‘taking’ my business from me, but the attitude was there. People think they are entitled to things when they really have no concept of what it takes to really build something. I worked my skin to the bones building my restaurant. (read past blogs to understand what kind of undertaking that was). A year or so after it was open I had a little twit working for me. She worked maybe ten hours a week. I fired her because I found her journal underneath the cash register. Realizing that she left in a spot where she should have been working, I took the liberty to read what was being written. (If it was in the back with personal  items, it’d be a different story). Of all the shit she was talking about me in there, she wrote about how the business wouldn’t survive without her and that she’d take over one day and it would be hers…. People really think this way! She was a part time kid and was obviously blind to the realization that a business just isn’t ‘there’ one day. Sadly, the hard work and effort that people think they put in, isn’t really anything to be proud of. Imagine giving full control of a company to a snot nosed twerp that always says “I can run this place a million times better than these people can…”  Right…

This is an important concept about consideration that people should pay a little more attention to. People will stand by ready to jump on the gravy train as soon as it starts rolling. They’ll then be able to jump off whenever they please with no liability for their actions. It’s no wonder that people with money don’t want to share what they have. There’s a odd mention of this in the military. “How can we trust our brothers to our left and our right with our life, but we couldn’t trust them a second with our wife?…”

Don’t be a bird dogger.

Business infants…

I’ve been severely lacking in my blog posting lately. Either that my life is so damn interesting right now, or I really got nothin’ to show for my self-imposed stress. Late shifts followed by early shifts and obnoxious neighbors that knock on the wrong door at 3 am… ugh…

(edit… I re-read this after writing it and the structure was hard for me to read… sorry…)

So, I’ve written a bit of blogs about business ‘things’ here and there. I can’t be so bold as to say that every idea I have is perfect because well, if every idea I had was perfect I wouldn’t be working for someone else right now. But, I’m actively learning nuances of how to conduct business in many realms. Today, I had an experience with a very immature business mindset. It kinda bothered me really.

I work for a well known coffee house. I don’t want to be naming it here for legal reasons (if any just in case), and though I may be bashing certain experiences, I actually really enjoy working for the company and think they have an excellent vision.

We have these random surveys that we are supposed to give out to customers. It’s a trend for businesses to take part in these customer surveys obviously. You can’t get a cheeseburger from a quickie burger joint without seeing an invitation to voice your opinion and win a thousand bucks. Well, of course the better the feedback the more we get praised as employees. With the system we have it affords us the opportunity to pick and choose who we give the surveys to. If we have a really friendly customer we may be biased to give it to them instead of that Lamborghini driving asshole that thinks his drink shouldn’t take more time than it takes for him to get from the register to the drink station. Not that he’d take the time to do a survey like ours but there’s a flaw in this thinking. I won’t ‘say’ that we are influenced to be choosy about who we give surveys to but…

We tell people in a suggestive manner that good scores help us out. How dumb is that statement? I asked my ‘supervisor’ why we don’t give the surveys out specifically to people that seem to be pissy towards us. And I asked the aggravated question, “Why don’t we just provide better service and not worry about who we give the surveys out to?” The answer was “Well, you gotta understand where we are at and what kind of people come in here. They think they’re entitled more than anyone else and their opinion isn’t a true reflection of the service we provide.” (Or phrased along that manner).

I had a major turning point in my level of respect for people that work in these places. Some get it, some don’t. Even as a minimum pay worker, you are still a part of the business. With this kind of thinking, it’s no wonder the capitalistic model doesn’t support people who want a handout without working for it. Good scores don’t help one bit on a survey.

The excuses came flying at me as to why my idea was flawed. “We’re too busy, we’re too understaffed, people are just assholes, there’s nothing we can do…” Those excuses started falling on deaf ears. I don’t really have to ask the question anymore of “Are these retail and service industry schmucks really that ignorant?” Whether people expect royal service or a friendly face or even think we should operate differently, we should in fact listen to them. Our paychecks (in private industry at least) don’t come from a endless source of money. Our paychecks come from the people paying for our products AND service. Idiot.

Lastly, I’ve made a few comments about our tips. Tips get collected, pooled together and paid out depending on how many hours one works. It’s a little socialistic for my taste but it’s a nominal amount and the work we do is supposed to be a collective effort. Thing is, our tips suck. I was at a store with far less sales and the customers were just as discriminating and I got about double (per hour) in tips. Here, I’m halfway embarrassed to collect my tips. And I’m told ‘these are pretty good considering where we are.’ Oh, and I’m told that the more the tip jars are emptied, the more we make on tips because no one wants to tip when the jar is full…. You’ve got to be kidding me. So I suggest as above, “Why don’t we just provide better service?” Oh my! The reaction was just like when I tell people that Jesus is a bastard child.

These concepts seem pretty obvious as to how to make customer service better. Thing is, there is no excuse for shitty service. There is also no excuse for certain customers to be shitty to workers. (That population is a whole other world) Truth is, not every customer that is shitty wants to be that way. As a service worker, you may not like how you have to serve these people but don’t forget for one moment who is in fact funding your irresponsible night out of drinking this Saturday… Yea, that guy…

My story…

Playing Your Hand Right

This is a blog I found while getting started on this WordPress journey of sorts. Taylor Ocean is his name and there is an eerie familiarity between his life stories and mine… Sans the drugs, SWAT raid and crazy car wrecks… For my modest amount of readers, I suggest you check out his blog, and maybe even check out his book on Amazon.

His stories will more than likely offend many, and literary structure nazis would have a heyday with his prose. Personally, I think he’s got some real balls for doing what he did, telling his story as candidly as possible. I read half his book already tonight and pressed with the fact that I’m due to be up for work in a handful of hours, I’m going to save the last half for a well planned night with a few fingers of whiskey by my side. Kudos to you, man.

So this brings me back to some realizations I have about my life. I need some better stories… Well, ones that I can tell on this open forum. I’ve held thirty something jobs since I was thirteen years old, passed up an opportunity to go to the Naval Academy, passed up college after high school, passed up enjoying my twenties… Got my (then) girlfriend pregnant… (Actually, during post break up sex), got hooked up with a girl eight years older than me, bought a house with her, almost became dad number three to her kids… Spent years working my ass off for her and sacrificing so many opportunities of really good income… I left her cheating, alcoholic ass. Managed a pizza parlor, became a garbage man, then joined the Army at the age of twenty four. Went to Airborne School after basic training, (insert a ton of Army stories here), got deployed twice, (insert more Army stories here), got out, rushed home for reasons I still can’t accept, opened a restaurant from scratch… Ran it, grew it, loved it, hated it, sold it… Became a truck driver, then became a tree worker, onto becoming a tree climber at times… Oh, and I lived on a sailboat for a few years… Then flight school… Got my commercial pilot license free and clear using the GI Bill, learned all about the new age of how entitled kids are nowadays, finished flight school, enjoyed the sailboat before I finally sold it, drove trucks again for a few months then moved to California. Decided to continue using my GI Bill benefits to attend a joke of a school. Name is withheld until I finish this session. All in all, that’s where I’m at… There’s a lot of people in between all of that who have made their way into my heart and I will never be able to get them out. Others I wish I could go back in time and ‘un-meet.’ This can’t be it for me… It’s not my time to begin writing my story. I’ve lived my life for myself and I’m ashamed of that.

I’ve been pondering more than people can ever imagine about what to do with my life right now. I’m thirty three years old and feel like I’m twenty at times. To say the world is my oyster is an understatement right now. I’m trying to live a life of normalcy for a while to help finish the affairs of a lifestyle I chose to live and quite honestly despise. Debts are to be paid, demons are surely waiting to knock on my door again real soon, and life will probably kick my ass beyond recognition real soon.

Here’s my dream… Finish this shit life I’m in. Save up some money, open another restaurant. Make it damn good… Better than I had before. Open another… And another… I want to employ people and give back to people who support me along the way. I want the feeling I’ve gotten a few times in my life where I actually want to get up in the morning. I want to go beyond a simple restaurant. I want to build something to inspire people. I want to live a transparent enough life where I don’t have to pretend in front of anyone. And when someone asks ‘who the hell are you?’, I can say ‘I’m Dave-Motherfuckin-Smyth.’ Hah, well, maybe not in that context all the time, but the passion will be there.

My reality seems to be as far from that dream as ever right now. I spend my days hoping and praying that I don’t get that call that brings me to my knees. Yet, I also wait for the other call that brings me to my knees for another reason. I’ve been acting too long. I’ve been trying to wear this facade in hopes that it’s good enough to carry me through so I can jump in the deep end sooner than later. I fear if I truly let it all hang out, I’ll lose it all… Or maybe that’s the best thing I can do right now…

Damnit…

One of those days again where I wish I could spit out what’s on my mind… Nothing of what I write lately means much about what’s really going on inside me. I’m purposely clouding myself with things in my head to avoid some serious progress that I need to make in my life. Not sure why I do it… I think I’m just being careful, but maybe it’s because I’m scared. I think back to when I decided to open my business. It was at a bar in North Carolina. I sat with My friend Daniel and a Coors Light. I always knew I wanted to open a place, but that particular night I made the choice. It was something I had never felt more right about in my whole life. Thing is now, I’m looking for that moment. It can’t be forced. It can’t be staged. It just has to happen. I have a feeling something will change in me soon. As I’ve written before, it’s not about the money either. Of course I need to save some money to open a place, but aside from that, I need to find the love I once had. I’m through trying to convince myself that I can do it. I know I can. The real question is how far do I feel comfortable going in again? There is a point of no return, and the next time around it’s either go big or go.. .home?

The biggest challenge I see in creating something new, is the ability to stand up beside my convictions and be able to tell people I know what the fuck I’m doing. It’s not an easy road to actually go after your dreams, but there’s a point at which you must realize that it’s not about anything you ever thought it would be. And it’s definitely not anything anyone else would think it is either.

The moment of realization that I was going to accomplish a dream I had had actually come and gone before I even picked up the first pen to create a plan for my place. I realized tonight that all those times I’d sit in my diner at night, doors locked and neon lights on, I wasn’t basking in the glow of my progress… I was looking for the fire that I was forcing upon myself. I was fooled by what I had created. It was nothing I really wanted. It’s why on the last time I locked my doors to bring the keys to the lawyers office to change over possession, I didn’t look back. Even to this day if I’m back in town, I can drive by the place and not have any sort of sentimental feelings. I can remember the good times and the bad of course, but it’s a chapter in my life that has closed. Reality is, I should have waited a bit longer to start it. Hindsight right…

Right now my life is about trying to play catch-up. I’ve driven the car of my life full speed without shifting gears My motor took a shit and now I’m trying to pick up the pieces. I’m trying to be a bit more careful as I drive this one down the road however. Not only do I need to control it for myself, I need to watch out for the asshole that is waiting to run me off the road or brake check me just to prove a point.

Oblivion…

I’m really annoyed lately at work. Not because I have a lot of personal vestment in it, but because regardless of my position, I want to love what I do and I want other people to be happy with what I provide to them. Working with immature (business-wise) people is difficult when you see the results of their actions yet you can’t do anything about it. I constantly have to remind myself that I’m only here for my paycheck and I get to go home in a few hours.

Customer service is a waning commodity. I can’t stand fake and un-genuine conversation from anyone. Why would I expect a perfect stranger to want to converse with me on a level that is obviously fake? I get caught up in ‘routine’ when I’m working under direction of others. These ‘others’ are the dispatchers I’ve written about in the past. Call them middle managers or whatever you want.

The role of a manager at any level in an organization is to implement and enforce the guidelines and directives while allowing for the human factor. If it wasn’t for the human factor, we wouldn’t need ‘bosses’ because if a standard of operation is set, there woudl be no reason to expect it would be deviated from. Truth is, people have their own ways of thinking of how things should be. Just like the little twerp that argued with me when I hired him to hold a sign pointing people to my restaurant. “You should really think about… blah blah blah…”… I said, “You should really think about going and doing what I hired you for …”

My ideas are nowhere near perfect but of some things I speak about in my life, I have some pretty darn good experience. Whether people think about these things or not, I believe it is a cause of unproductive individuals and organizations. Too many chiefs and not enough indians right? Lately when I find myself in these situations, I let my mind go. I slow down to a level that I actually feel really uncomfortable at. In the midst of a crazy crowd, if someone comes to me for something they need, I want to devote all my energy to them at that moment. If not, I’m simply the annoying twerp that belts out “Welcome to Bob’s Crab Shack” really loud as someone walks through the door while everyone else looks up to see what the big commotion is about.

I really need to get my ass in gear…

Still…

I find myself in the same damn spot in life all the time. I wonder if I actually don’t mind it. Being single is actually an understatement. I love people, but I’m constantly going alone. I don’t mean that in a pouty whiny fashion either. I live for myself too often and it gets old. Then I’m reminded of times when I tried to live for someone else, and I got fucked. Prime example, family. It’s ok though, because in something like five billion years the earth will be consumed by the sun and we will be nothing more than…nothing…

After a marathon of a day (15 hours of work and school) I decided to go to my new local watering hole. Guinness is my poison and a good crowd keeps me coming back. For some the toilet is their thinking spot. For me, it’s the bar. A good bar. I’m happy with where I’ve decided to take my life currently but I’m not happy with certain aspects that should have been different.

I decided to open a small little diner in my pseudo-hometown. The support I was expecting was nothing more than a hand ready to be held out with the palm to the sky waiting for a handout. I sold it not because it wasn’t working, but because I wasn’t happy. Plain and simple. I’ve burnt a lot of bridges with it and quite honesty I don’t care at this point. The demons inside me have decided to speak out a bit tonight. Not because of the time at the bar (I only had one Guinness), but because of the overwhelming fatigue from the last few weeks. (And really, the last ten years of my life)

The last visit to my parents was quite sobering for me. For the zillionth time I recently turned my life upside down (flight school)… Seeing my parents after a few years amongst hate-filled emails of guilt and shaming to me, I couldn’t have wanted a faster exit. Everything I’ve done and every decision I’ve made is my fault. Got it. I sold my place still owing money.. Got it…. I paid off people that truly helped along the way. When all is said and done, I was sitting in a house that I’ve never felt comfortable in. Ever. As I’m looking up at the thousands of dollars worth of Thomas Kinkade paintings and the ridiculous amounts of trinkets and random shit, I hear the undertones of guilt being thrown my way. “Oh, the big news…. Me and your dad are going to Ireland for… ” if I had a gun I would have pulled it out, polished one round, stuck it in the chamber and pulled the trigger to my fucking temple. Reminiscing of the time I got my ass beat to a pulp when I was a kid and dropped my wallet on the ground after tossing and catching it like a baseball. I was informed to never ever disrespect money.

Welcome to the first explanation of a part of my blog that I’ve left out this whole time. Ever seen the movie American Beauty? Totally different story line but same sort of effect.

I’m tired now and feel like sleeping. As much as I haven’t shared too many details of a part of my life I hate, there’s plenty more waiting to be vomited out someday. Because of some other really good things in my life right now, I’m finally content with my path. I have no clue what it is, but living for myself once again is an amazing feeling. Guilt is waiting right outside for me though…

Lacking…

What’s with the lack of meaningful blog posts from me lately? I mean, I have a ton of stuff on my mind but when I finally sit down with my iPad to write… My mind just stops. Period. In a way that’s a good thing for me. It’s my release of all the stress I put on myself. I liken it to humbling myself by singing karaoke. I’ll never be a singer of any talent, but sometimes a person just needs to get up and sing a drunken rendition of ‘sweet child of mine’ to bring the spaceship back to earth.

My writing journey here is a little like that. As much as I would love to hone my skills and become a columnist or even a blogger for a major news agency, I have to accept the reality of things. I feel better throwing words out on the page that have no real structure or purpose aside from someone wanting a little something to pass the time. I guess it could change at any given moment, but one may never know until they try right?

It’s a bit like this damn school I’m going to. It’s a waste of my hard earned GI Bill benefits. I’m thinking of going for some sort of professional certification instead of this half-assed bachelor program and maybe if I’m bored I’ll go get a bachelor from a real school someday. I will admit, a part of me wants to get a bachelor degree for the image of it. I mean, I need to impress people right? Right? Bullshit. I know I don’t have to impress anyone. Thing is, the people that are in charge of hiring most places (that pay a good wage out of the gate) can’t understand the worth of someone who has done more with their life than most other people who only have a four year degree under their belt.

It’s time to start thinking serious about a business again. Yup… I going there..l

Post 304…

After a few days of realizing that my blog posts weren’t being written from the WordPress app, I decided to be a little less lazy and log into the site itself. Anyways…

I’m a little conflicted on my motivation right now. I’m getting comfortable finally with my new place and locale here in sunny California but found  a semi-familiar lack of focus on things. Might have to do with the fact that I’ve killed myself with a crazy workout this past week and my body is revolting against me.

I’m not a ‘materialistic’ kind of person. Really I’m not. But I do like nice things and enjoy the creature comforts of the finer things in life. With that, I see a LOT of money down here. I also see a lot of pseudo-money which means little to me. However the wealth was created, it is there. We can judge all we want about people who have quite a bit more than others but who are we kidding? We’re just jealous.

Where my motivation is heading is in the ‘stress-free’ realm of life. Even if it means thinking of ways to have a lot of money. I keep thinking about what was going through my head when I was sitting at the Dog House Saloon in North Carolina and decided that I would in fact open a restaurant. Though I did it, and for my level of expectation it was successful, I actually don’t feel like I accomplished my goal yet.

I don’t have as clear of a destination as I did that one hazy night when I decided my fate, but I do still have a little spark of something that needs it’s flames fanned. Maybe that fan has to be made of hundred dollar bills and I should quit being so whimsical about why I do what I do. I can save this deep emotional stuff for later.