A Few Quick Things, vol. 48

Table-Skiing_smallDo you ever sit in a restaurant, or walk around a mall, and wonder if there’s someone there who coulda woulda been bigger than Springsteen, or greater than Hemingway, if they hadn’t made a stupid-ass decision somewhere along the line?

Needless to say, it’s a rare thing — and most people are just garden variety dipshits. But I bet we’ve all encountered a few coulda wouldas along the way. Ya know? Someone we’d post on Facebook about meeting, instead of them just being another unremarkable and mustachioed manager at Chili’s?

I sometimes think back on the various crossroads I’ve encountered, and wonder what would’ve happened if I’d chosen differently. Oh, I don’t believe I’m a coulda woulda, but I coulda been hurtled down a totally different path. And I wonder how it woulda turned out.

For instance… I was offered a position with the FBI in Washington DC when I was young and exceedingly stoopid. Would I be a paid assassin now? Secretly working the X-Files? Retired with a fat pension and a bunch of kickass stories? Deader than Kelsey’s nuts? It’s impossible to know.

Also, after I lost my job with Warner Bros. in 2007 we strongly considered selling our house here and moving back to North Carolina. Wonder where we’d be now if we’d gone through with it? There are many forks in the road, and I feel like we made some good choices, and a few bad ones. Maybe more than a few bad ones. Oh well.

Do you have any particular forks that nag at you, and cause you to repeatedly think “what if?” Tell us about it, if you don’t mind sharing.

I spent a few hours in the library yesterday, prepping for next week’s stay in the Yurt Village. And, once again, I was amazed at the level of noise in that place. I’m old, but not that old. When I was a youngling the library was quiet, always quiet. If someone DARED speak at a normal conversational volume, a woman would rush over, hold a single bony finger in front of her mouth, and shush the shit out of ’em. Right?

Not anymore. It’s just game-on in the modern library. Baseball stadium conversations, people laughing and cackling like they’re in the studio audience of Jimmy Kimmel Live, YouTube videos playing wide-open… It’s crazy.

And I hate to be ageist (not really, but I feel like I should say that), but it’s the old people who are largely to blame. They come in there and shout-talk, like it’s a community center. These people come from a time of extreme shushing, and now this?? There must be a battle going on inside them: I know it’s wrong, but fuckit I’m old; I’ve EARNED it. I will, by God, holler about lasagna.

Our library has a quiet room, if you can believe it. The whole thing used to be a quiet room, but they’ve given up the ghost on that notion. Now you have to go into a soundproof booth — behind glass. Those poor bastards look like they’re about to be called onstage by Wink Martindale in there.

I’m listening to Thin Lizzy as I type this: a band that I rejected for most my life, on account of snobbery. Oh, I used to be quite the snob… However, a co-worker in Atlanta would sometimes play their CDs in our office, and I was shocked to realize I fucking love Thin Lizzy. Since then I’ve procured most of their albums, and know them by heart. A great band, nearly missed because of prejudice.

Another one: Dean Koontz. During the 1980s and 1990s I would’ve NEVER purchased a Dean Koontz novel. I mean, seriously. They sell them at the checkout stands of grocery stores. I’m far too sophisticated for such common fare. Ha! Wotta fantastic douche. His books are a blast, and well-written, as well. Sometimes popular and shit are not synonymous. It took me a long time to realize this.

Got anything on this? Do you have the snobbery gene like me? Did it nearly cause you to miss something that you now love? Please tell me I’m not the only one?

I need to call it a day, my friends. I wish I could write about work here, because Friday was one of the craziest nights of my questionable “career.” Was it a full-moon? I dunno, but some kind of weird juju was in play, that’s for sure. Holy shitballs.

Next week I’m going to be in the yurt, getting my second book underway. But I’ll post something on Monday, somehow.

Have yourselves a great day!

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Comments

  1. The Qweezy Mark says:

    I was once too much of a snackin’ snob to consider Pringles. The chip of Satan.

  2. You can’t go wrong with Scott and Brian.

  3. Jerry in WV says:

    Two crossroads come to mind. First one was in 1988. I was out of the USAF and was working in Air Force intelligence as a civilian. Still at the Cheyenne Mountain complex in Colorado Springs. Flew back to WV to visit family and by freak chance ended up interviewing with a company that worked exclusively with law firm information systems. They offered me the job right away and it was in Charleston. We thought about it long and hard and decided to move our family back east. Still wonder what would have happened had I stayed at NCMC. Number two….after a short career bump in 2000, I was offered a very good position with a large law firm in Tennessee . My youngest daughter was in high school and gave us tons of grief about moving. So, we decided to stay and took another position in Charleston. Fast forward to today…she hooked up with a bunch of losers and now at 30 years old has a serious drug problem. I wonder how her life would be different, had we made that move. Pass the beer nuts.

    • Bill in WV says:

      And, had you not made that choice back in 1988, you wouldn’t know me and probably would know nothing about this website. Poor guy, you should have just stayed in the granite cave. LOL

  4. Jazzbone Swirly says:

    What a coincidence, because I guy I work with grew up in Lasagna Holler!

  5. maturnityisforfuckers.com

  6. I’d like to have a place such as the Cheyenne Mountain Complex to live in.

  7. Surly Shawn says:

    My whole life is a what if. Even today…what if I went out and applied for a job instead of watching the X-Files on Netflix? Unfortunately, I’ll never know.

    Also, the head librarian we had in high school was famously known for her shushing. In fact, every few years, there would be a lame attempt at a joke in the yearbook to that effect. My friends and I just said she had a slow leak…shhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.

    We were 15-17. Don’t judge.

  8. Speaking of “fork in the road”, didja see Caitlyn Jenner? She took that fork.

  9. Not getting that PhD. Not listening to my folks about questionable relationship choices. Not letting that boy ‘like’ me because now he’s a hotshot at a prestigious university (we could have made it work!!). Should have gone to NOAA after college – that would have been cool. Ought to have considered staying in radio, because that was a fun as hell job.

    My life, apparently, is full of wrong turns. However, I’m pretty happy with where I am now (come ON, winning lottery ticket!), so no huge regrets.

  10. Not joining the Peace Corps. It was my dream from age 12, and I never followed through. I never got that Masters degree in Spanish, either…or used my degree as more than a resume footnote.

    Maybe my next step/career choice will be fun. I’m still in “meh” mode.

  11. madz1962 says:

    The tines on my fork are all bent.

    So many woulda-couldas. But now, since unemployed, I get to have a clean slate and start all over again. Too bad I’m a goddamn relic.

    Speaking of Springsteen, Beloved met him back before he was famous. Beloved was taking his equipment out of a club and Bruce was moving his stuff in. Two unheard of bands.They shared a beer and Bruce said “Someday, I want a band with an entire horn section in it.”

    Guess who made it and who didn’t? Sigh…

  12. Shouldn’t that be, “…soundproof boof?”

  13. If I had gotten my girlfriend pregnant in high school, maybe I would have ended up working in the same paper mill where her dad worked. And later unemployable when it closed. As it turned out, she dumped me and we both went to different colleges, each of which ends with Polytechnic Institute. It’s sad either way. Of course later there are the “leads” not pursued, calls not made, etc., too numerous to detail. Regrets are a dime a dozen in every life.

    Over the weekend I took the train up to NYC to see my parents for my dad’s 90th birthday, which made me think (more) about how temporary life is. Enjoy your family while you can, because the day will come…

    On the train, the conductor announced that the quiet car was to have a “library atmosphere”. I guess that includes old people hollering about lasagna.

    Regarding Cheyenne Mountain, I’ll just say: Mt. Weather Area B. Same paymaster, different agency. I’ve only been in one of these places, so I’m not in a position to compare coolness.
    .

  14. I quit college after a few years to go to work. I hauled ass out of Texas and moved to Alabama to start a little business with my cousin. I don’t really second guess any of it.

    I went to our library today. Still very quiet. They had an Elvis exhibit on the 3rd floor, complete with one of his bedsheets, one of his Bibles, Christmas lights and carpet from Graceland, etc. Kinda neat. But they do keep it quiet. Even the computers require headphones.

  15. johnthebasket says:

    Jeff . . .

    Given that the library is an elder-Altamont filled with people my age with their single-use undergarments on fire, and given that you have but one Secret left at home, I’m surprised you didn’t yurt-prep in the domicile. For that matter, as I recall, you had noisy yurt-neighbors last time, so why yurt at all?

    Since none of this stuff is my business, I’ll just assume that you have good and sufficient reasons, and sidle on into the kitchen to eat my lasagna.

    Also, I doubt that someone like me who reads Kinky Friedman novels for pleasure can be too cool for school regarding Dean Koontz, Dean Torrence, Dean Rusk, or any Dean at all.

    jtb

  16. revashane says:

    I think I took the correct direction in all the forks in my life. Now what? I’m not ancient, I’m not young but now what do I do? Ah Ha! this is the fork I never expected. This fork is actually a spoon, I’ve slipped into the middle and somehow will find myself climbing up the other side. My preservation instinct and a pack of Depends and I’ll be alright. Speaking of Depends, I wish I had one this weekend. Went to see Ralphie May on Saturday, he is one funny MoFo from Arkansas.

    • revashane says:

      Not to come off as ass but I seem to be the person who finds things first. When someone talks about this great discovery they’ve uncovered I just sit there and nod my head. (thought bubble) “Geez youre so behind, I’m so much wiser than you blablabla” Isn’t it okay to be an ass if you keep it to yourself?

      • johnthebasket says:

        With regard to popular culture, I usually discover things very late in the popularity cycle. THEN I’m ready to show off my new-found information. I don’t think that makes me a full-on ass; perhaps it just makes me a piece of ass.

        jtb

        • revashane says:

          I dont know much about popular culture but I did impress the daughter’s friend by having the skeptical hippo meme on the car dashboard.

          When it comes to ass, smart ass if my favorite.

          • johnthebasket says:

            I try not to confuse popular culture with digital culture, or memes with bits, but I frequently fail because I am only, as they say in China, Hunan.

            jtb

            Oh, by the way, I forgot my old guy tag: Get off my lasagna. Thank you for your cooperation.

            • Several years ago I was having lunch at a hole-in-the-wall in Chinatown. A sketchy-looking dude shuffles in and says to the proprietor, “yeah, gimme some a that Human Chicken.” The proprietor, wise in the ways of the world, replied “You pay first!”
              .

  17. Wisey in Ttown says:

    My Crossroads was in Olney Texas in 1982. I was playing defensive lineman for my football team and had a monster game. I was in the backfield all night stuffing and sacking and creating havoc. At the end of the game, down a touchdown, the other team threw a screen to my side…right at me. I could have caught it and fell into the end zone to tie the game but I knocked it away like a dumbass. My coach told me that he would have nominated me for all-state right there on the spot if I would have intercepted it. I wonder how things would have been different…no doubt it would have changed me, my practice habits, long term outlook, college choices etc. I ended up finishing out my senior season and never played again.