I grew up your typical Midwest boy. Graduated high school in ’86. I did what all the cool kids were doing. Got a factory job, married my girlfriend Bekka Sue, had a baby named Amber Nicole, and moved up the ladder in my crappy brainless factory position.
I was living the American dream, baby! I had two cars in the driveway, a three bedroom house, a newborn little girl, my fair share of motorcycles and your standard man like type toys, and a beautiful wife to boot. Life was grand.
Then one year later the factory my wife and I both worked in closed down. “OH SHIT!!” Now what? My only skill at that point was running the machine that made reel to reel computer tape! Big demand for that, right? Maybe ten years prior, but now I was F’d in the A!!!!!! Did I mention that I was at the ripe old age of 19?! Something had to be done and fast.
I tried my own janitorial business with my friend Dave for a minute, and worked several other occupational hazards to no avail. There just wasn’t enough money to be made from what I was doing. The Midwest was pretty tight in those days. The decision had to be made…
“GO WEST YOUNG MORON!!!”
So off to Las Vegas we went and I jumped head first into the construction bizz. Now mind you, I didn’t have the faintest idea of what I was doing. My only skill was cutting the tape on the takeup machine at five thousand feet and put it in the storeroom to cure for forty eight hours. Whatever that means.
Well naturally my beautiful young bride couldn’t be patient with me while I beat my head against the wall learning how to do something entirely foreign to me, so she left.
It was probably three months later that I started business number two, but this time I tripled my income overnight! Unfortunately I was a bit despondent over my divorce. I threw myself into my work. That’s the good part. I learned tons about how to build everything under the sun and how to make loads of money doing it. It would have been handy if I had learned how to save it!! In the course of the next ten years, I partied my ass off and managed to piss away a cool million. “Oops.”
Then I met number two, Julie Ann. I had been a playboy for a decade and by this time my business was really peaking. I was in my early thirties and I was sure she was the one, so I married her. We lived the good life for eight years.
Then came the dreaded year of 2009.
All of my grand delusions of retiring by forty five were completely crushed like a juicy over ripe grape under the stinky foot of recession. The universe as I knew it had shit down my neck.
What’s really interesting is it only took me seven years to piss away the next million, so at least I was getting good at it! I would tell my wife “Spend all you want, I’ll make more!” “How much did I save” you ask? I think I’ll plead the fifth on that one…
In the course of this spectacular year my awesome Rottweiler of eight years was hit by a truck and killed. Doesn’t every sad song start with “My dog died”? My business tanked, as most construction companies did. My work truck was repoed. I lost my three boats, travel trailer, dirt bikes and other man like type toys… including beautiful wife number two, who took my new Rotty pup Otto with her. My future son in law and father of my grandson hung himself. About halfway through the year I lost my house.
This final straw (Or so I thought) sent me into a tailspin of epic proportions. I spend three strange days in a drunken self-pity stupor. At eight AM on day three I ended up in a horrific head on collision, totaling that truck and nearly totaling myself. I can only thank the powers that be that the poor guy that hit me (who was actually wearing his seatbelt… unlike my dumb ass) was uninjured, because I spent most of September in a coma. I nearly died on the table… twice. I suffered mild brain damage, shattered my eye socket, jacked up my right shoulder and got a shiny new titanium plate installed in my head!
When I was finally released from the hospital I was forced to come to the realization that my business, marriage, and general way of life was over… again. I had become a walking, talking country song. At least the doctors were able to restore my smashing good looks!
After I was released from the hospital, I decided it was time to make a retreat to the Midwest for some rest and recuperation. I was gone less than two months when the phone call came in. It was my good friend Tom calling to inform me that the only thing of value I had left (That I was storing in his backyard) had been stolen. My 1998, FLH1340cc Harley Davidson police bike. Did I mention my dog’s name was Harley? Stephen King could not have written a more horrifying script for me, and yet there it was. Irony is a fickle thing.
Upon hearing this news I immediately burst into hysterical laughter. It was at this pivotal moment that I finally got the joke*. That’s when it hit me that I’d been using the wrong score card the whole time.
*(Webster’s footnote-JOKE: THE RIDICULOUS ELIMENT IN SOMETHING)
The year I had would have killed the average man. Good thing I’m not. It was time to step out of the painting and analyze the brush stokes…