Over the recent holidays, we’ve had some nice, long weekends at my day job. 4 days for Christmas, and 4 for New Year’s. We were back at work yesterday, sitting there and hoping to stay awake. (I couldn’t sleep Tuesday night for some reason. Not sure why, but it happens. Nothing to worry about, though.)

When we came back to work from Christmas, one of our truck drivers told us that a former employee lost his mother on Christmas. It was sad to hear and we felt back for him, but no one suspected any kind of foul play or something more sinister. Rumor was that her heart messed up somehow, which was still odd because she was only in her late 40’s.

So yesterday, someone asked if we heard about the death, and we all did. But he said that he found out more—it was a suicide.

Now, none of us know what the woman felt, thought, lived with, and had to deal with every day. Suicide and mental health are unique to each person suffering from them. I feel bad for the entire family, and they have my sympathies.

I keep thinking about that former employee, though. He was difficult to deal with. Too much of a smart mouth, and always wanted to get involved in everyone’s business. It wasn’t an inquisitive nature, it was him going out of his way to be annoying. To be honest, he reminded me a little of myself, but mostly other kids I knew back when I was 11 or 12.

A lot of the other warehouse guys picked on him and treated him like a chump. He pretty much proved that he was, in fact, a chump within his first couple of days on the job. The good-natured hazing and ribbing turned into regular bullying and harassment, but he did nothing to help himself. Like many people in that position, he became standoffish and wanted to stir up trouble of his own.

He would come in the office and mouth off, disregard basic instructions, and try to mess up everyone’s job—grabbing papers off the printer, picking up ringing phones, interrupting with customers. It doesn’t take a clinical therapist to know that these kinds of behaviors come from his anger and frustration, feeling like he needs to cause trouble even more, regardless of what happens. He gets the attention he feels he deserves.

Did I mention he’s 21 years old? Not 3, not 8, not 12. 21. An adult, of legal drinking, voting, and driving age.

I can’t say what people should or shouldn’t do, but he seems a little too old to be acting like that. He was annoying, so I wasn’t sad to see him leave for another job.

But after a tragedy like this, losing his mom in such a horrifying way, it makes me actually worry for him. I feel bad, and he and his entire family have my sympathies. I hope that everything goes well for him, and that they all get through this.

Not to be crass or unsympathetic in any way, shape or form, but I hope it causes him to grow up a little bit. I can’t assume what, if any, mental health issues he might have, but tragic events like this can often be an eye opening experience for people. It might help him grow up and get his act together, and become more of an adult.

It could also push him back even more.

I honestly worry that instead of coming out of this a stronger, better man, he’s just going to revert even more to the childish, troublesome imp he seemed to be in the office. I’m not saying any of this to ridicule or say how people should be or act or live. What I’m saying is, I hope he can work his way through this, and if he needs to get help to do so, may he find what he needs.

It took me forever to finally go to a therapist. I’m not cured of emotional outbursts and occasional depressive lulls, but I do know how to deal with them. Sometimes it takes a major life event or tragedy to get to where you need to be, and sometimes you just get there on your own.

Either way, I feel for him, and his family. And I hope everything is okay for all of you, too.

 

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I’m no Monster

April 28, 2018

Yesterday at work, I saw a rat. A real, live, living breathing rat. Keep in mind this is a rare thing for me. Growing up and living most of my life in the suburbs and clean, well-kempt apartments, I’m not accustomed to seeing these things outside of the zoo or on cartoons. Toledo isn’t a trash dump, so we don’t have a bunch of them running around like so many other big cities.

Instead of the revulsion and contempt I typically feel for vermin, I learned something about myself that I’d always suspected.

Let me start at the start…

I work in an office, yes, but there’s a warehouse as well. My office is small and tucked away in the back corner of the building. To get to the bigger, cleaner, more luxuriant office, you have to cross through the warehouse. Freezing in winter and humid as all get-out in summer, it’s filthy, dirty, dark, and the type of place you would expect to find all sorts of critters. Some of the spiders I’ve seen in there, whoo boy…

So last autumn, one of my coworkers mentions something about a rat. A rat the size of a puppy, like a big monster. Other eyewitness accounts agree, so I’m scared shitless of some massive monster jumping out at me, biting me, spreading the bubonic plague, and running off to gleefully find its next victim.

I’ve never seen it. I’m not sad about this.

Anyway, yesterday, I’m walking to my office. I heard something scratching, something rustling. There is a mini dumpster in the warehouse for all of our myriad waste products. It sits right next to a storage area for cabinets that haven’t gone out to their respective customers yet. I figured it was a driver pulling a load to take to his next location, so I kept my talking to myself at a minimum.

Then I realized I was alone. Who was making the noise?!

I tiptoed around the dumpster. Surely, it was a rat. Not just any rat, though. THE rat. Rattus Maximus. A fully-evolved Pokémon ready to hypnotize me and feast on my delicious innards. Holy fuck what is it?!?!?!

Ever the brave little pirate, I leaned forward to look into the dumpster (it’s about 4 feet tall). Amidst boxes and papers, I saw it…

The most adorable little rat ever.

Okay, it wasn’t little. Pretty big, actually. Not the mammoth, though. Unless my coworkers are the biggest bunch of pansies I’ve ever met, there is no possible way that is THE rat.

Its little rat face was so cute. It had a long tail, little ears, whiskers, a twitchy nose…and it just wanted out of its prison. I just wanted to reach in, grab it, and snuggle with it all day.

Then I realized it’ll definitely bite me. It’s got to be crawling with disease and germs. It’s not a pet, it’s a fucking rat!

Still, I could set it free. But how?

I headed back to the office, scared that not only would one of the sadistic warehouse workers try their hardest to kill it, they wouldn’t care about it. The poor little rat was going to die!

Other coworkers told me it would be fine. “Trust me” they’d say, “we get tons of rats in here. They’ll find a way.” Thanks, Professor Malcom, life always does find a way, right?

I realized that they’d dump that trash into the big dumpster outside, where the poor guy could either get free very easily, or certainly find a good meal. I felt better when I remembered that.

So I’m not the vermin hating asshole I once thought. I have sympathy for cute little animal friends…how could I ever wish anything bad for them? They’re just trying to survive, to live, to get married and have babies and live with a white picket fence, just like all the other rats out there.

And plus, it’s a warehouse. What do you freakin’ expect?!

But I still stand firm on my anti-ant and bee stance. Hate those fuckers.

Not at work

February 17, 2016

One of the biggest things that we as humans strive for is steadiness. For the past few years, it seems we’ve have a shaky economy at best, and finding steady, good-paying work is not always the easiest thing. It would make sense, then, that finding a job that pays decent and has the potential for a good future would be ideal.

Since I currently work retail, I find it interesting to see how many of my coworkers care so much about our job. While it’s good to have pride in your job and actually give a shit, some people seem obsessed with it. One of the most interesting things I see is during lunch breaks; if I go somewhere, even for fast food, I sit in that restaurant with a book and come back to work when my hour is up. For everyone else, they get their food and come straight back to work. After all, what if they’re needed?

My time is precious to me, so I make the most of it. Like I said, reading typically takes up my time. Occasionally, I’ll do some writing or editing.

The point is, if often feel like an outsider. Not that I’m trying really hard to fit in with my job or coworkers, but the simple fact that I don’t see this job as my career. I’m a writer, dammit, and that’s what I’m focusing on. Retail work is a means to an end, and writing is what I’m here for.

Things are going well. I’ve been getting out queries for the novel, sending submissions out to magazines, and editing like crazy. I’ve even been working on the next book in my library.

Despite crummy luck, I’m feeling good. I even skipped going to the gym today so I could write! I’m getting interest, getting nibbles, getting a few positive remarks.

In other words, I’m happy. I’m positive. More than anything, I’m here, and doing what I do best.

Flooded

November 12, 2013

I’ve been submitting stories.  Flooding the market, so to speak.  So why won’t anyone publish me?!

I’m also flooded here at home with stories.  Stuff that needs editing, stuff that needs finishing, stuff that needs to go out.  There’s not enough hours in the day, and not enough willing and able editors who want to buy my stuff.

So come on, people.  Accept a story.  Help me get out from under this deluge of work I have!

And seriously, what’s with the snow?  Snow in Ohio in early November?  Bah!

 

I should add that I just put a story up on my online workshop.  I hope it’s ready to go after this round!  More importantly, I hope that stories I have out doing the rounds right now will be accepted so that I can send this one out when it’s ready!

Never mind the wistful thinking, folks.  I get excited when I’m proactive.  I’ll probably lay awake all night thinking of how awesome my future is going to be, and then have no desire to write for the rest of the week.

No, wait!  Think positive!  And hey, how about you send me some positive vibes for good fortune?  I’ll totally make it worth your while!