I have done a lot of things in my life. When I was five I sold fudge at the Bolivar Ferry Landing in Galveston for “Y” Indian Guides. I didn’t make a lot of money because I ate most of the fudge.
When I was eight I sold newspapers and mowed lawns. I also sold Christmas candles door-to-door year round, but I never made much money because I liked to keep the candles and fill up my room with them. Also, I had to stop that job when I caught the curtains on fire. “What are you doing with fifty-eight lit candles in your room?” my mother yelled as she beat out the flames with the New York Times.
Dad came up, looked at the charred remnants, and said, “Give me the business section when you’re done with it.”
I did telephone surveys for Houston Interviewing, a hole-in-the-wall place where I first heard a woman say the words “suck cock.” She was the assistant manager. I expected the god I didn’t believe in to strike her with lightning, but when he didn’t I borrowed fifty dollars from her to buy an O’Neill wetsuit.
I sacked groceries at the Kroger around the corner. I was too weird to be a checker and too prone to thievery, so I bagged groceries and pushed the mop bucket over to Aisle 9 where people always broke the ketchup bottles. Clifford Zataratus and I smoked dope out on the loading docks and tossed stuff into the dumpster that we’d retrieve after closing hours.
One night he took me to Sloopy’s Pool Hall and got in a fight. They beat him up good. I hid underneath his car. When the beating stopped the other guys walked off. They were men, actually. Clifford opened the trunk of his Monte Carlo, took out a baseball bat, and beat up all three. I heard my first leg snap and heard my first grown man beg not to be killed while blood gushed out of his mouth and he lay on the ground spitting teeth and writhing on his shattered knee.
My junior year of high school I sold subscriptions to the Houston Post over the phone. There was a punk who started after me who sold a lot of stuff. His name was Michael Dell. Even then he was a douchebag, and we hated him because he outsold the entire sales team.
I worked for the Gap and I worked for Naughty Niceties, a clothing shop at Sharpstown Mall that sold nasty underwear. That job only lasted for two weeks. These greasy looking men would come in leering at their drunken girlfriends and ask them to “model the crotchless.” I left when one of the women asked me to go into the changing room to “model the crotchless” and her skinny, pimply boyfriend asked if he could watch.
In college I typed papers because I had a Selectric. Some freak in Dobie Mall had his own fuggin’ personal computer. “Everyone will use these in five years,” he said.
“Sure,” I sneered. “And I bet they won’t use IBM Selectrics, either.”
I cooked burgers at Chili’s, worked as an oyster shucker at the Capitol Oyster Company, moved pianos, and organized books at the Texas Civil Rights Project. Later on I worked as a translator, an interpreter, an English teacher, a consultant, a birding trail mapmaker, a butterfly counter, a web site designer, a photographer, a community development advocate, a marketing director for the Cherokee Heritage Center, and a johnny-on-the-spot maker of windmill trails, rural museum tourism guides, and copywriter for a guy who transferred embryos from quarterhorses to surrogate mares by sticking his entire arm up the horse’s you-know-what.
I worked as a web site marketer, the campaign manager for a U.S. Senate campaign, an art importer, a water advocate who called T. Boone Pickens an asshole, and a lawyer. I’ve written a column in a country newspaper and I’ve been paid for writing blogs and writing books, one about cycling and the other about finding birds on the Texas Gulf Coast.
But it wasn’t until a couple of weeks ago that I hit rock bottom.
You see, every couple of days I send out a little email that has local cycling news in it. Mostly it consists of “I’m doing the x-Ride tomorrow, come if you want to.” It kind of lets people in the South Bay know what’s going on and it goes out to about 110 people.
Then two weeks ago all of the messages bounced. I trolled around on the Internet and learned that the Galactic Monitor Against Spammers, something called Spamhaus, had labeled me a global spammer. Henceforth I wouldn’t be able to send emails to people who had asked to receive them.
So I subscribed to Constant Contact, which lets you spam up to 500 people for $15/month. Now, everyone who asks to be on the list will receive a very spammy looking piece of cycling spam mail. Better than that, I can add this to my resume: GLOBAL SPAMMER.
Not just “winning.” That’s “won.”
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