I’m saving up my money to buy me a Chevy Silverado 2500 Crew Cab with a gun rack.
We saw the second ultrasound yesterday and it looks like we’re having a girl. Now, I wasn’t the type that was leaning either way between the sexes, I was more concerned about having ten fingers and ten toes and then letting everything else be what it is. I didn’t want to be disappointed by my kid while it’s still in the womb, it will have plenty of time to do that over the next eighteen or so years. For now, I’m still wrapping my head around the fact that we’re having a kid and now that I know it’s a girl, I’m trying to wrap my head around how to raise one of them.
So I’m going to buy a gun.
I know how I was as a teenage boy (hell, even in my 20’s) and I need to make sure to lay down the rule early in case some hardhead shows up at my house to take my daughter on a date; I don’t play. It sounds weird, but in my mind it’s not just about raising my daughter the right way as much as it is protecting her from people that may have been raised the wrong way. Let’s face it, some of these people out here are crazy and, unfortunately, they don’t need a license to have a kid so they may pass on their crazy genes to their progeny. All I can do is make sure, as best I can, that my kid isn’t overly exposed to it and thus predisposed to thinking that crazy is normal.
Now, don’t think for a moment that I’m holding myself up as the exemplar of sanity or a model citizen because those that know me will say that I’m far from it. I know that. I’m just trying to keep the extra crazy away from my kid, keep the weirdos and thugs at bay and try to make sure she’s not negatively impacted by some other parent’s poor decision making.
That’s why I’m stockpiling an arsenal that will rival T.I.’s and make me look like I’m about to go free Morpheus. I gotta protect her from the rest of the world. I’m going to be at the playground with brass knuckles and a blowgun just waiting for some toddler to push her down the slide or some overly touchy feely grandmother to get too close. I’m getting ready to take on all comers, I’m keeping Little Miss Richardson safe from the world.
To quote my friend Ted Brown, “The Earth is a beautiful place, but the world can be fucked up.”
If there’s one thing I’ve learned this summer, it’s how to handle personal disappointment.
I’ve been through countless phone interviews, numerous face to face interviews and more than a few run-ins with people I’ve networked with who have told me that they may have something for me and, up to this point, it hasn’t amounted to anything I can lean on and say that it’s a promising long term option. There’s that fleeting moment of opportunity that eventually gets stomped out by the reality of my position. That being the guy on the other side who has practically no control over the situation.
I’ve learned a valuable and somewhat depressing lesson; never fall in love with opportunity.
The thing about getting off the phone or coming home after an interview is the feeling that this could actually be The One. This could be the chance to get the engine going and get things back to normal. This could be the chance to finally get back to doing what it is that you do best and get some health insurance in the process. The opportunity is a beautiful thing because there’s that moment where you can see normal on the horizon and you can dream about what’s going to happen next.
But it’s dangerous to dream.
I think one of the biggest downers that comes with the job search is the false positivity that comes from everyone you talk to. The HR people who say that they can’t wait to get back to you or the recruiters who say that this is a perfect opportunity for you. Everyone wants to make you feel like you’re the priority or that you’re exactly what they want when, in many cases, there’s two other people getting fed the same story. You feel like this is The One because they make you feel like you’re The One when you may actually be The Four or The Five. But that’s why you get your hopes up, even if it’s just a little, when it seems like something is coming down the pipeline. They feel good so you feel good, but all those good feelings may very well not amount to much of anything.
You can’t protect yourself from hope.
Unlike a playground bully or a stranger in a van full of puppies and candy, you can’t really protect your ego from getting beat up. Sure, there’s cynicism and apathy but that’s kind of like trying to protect someone from getting hurt by just not going to the playground. It’s a coping mechanism, but it really doesn’t deal with the issue. The issue is that you want to feel good about the job search and you want to feel like the next person you talk to will be the one that will hire you. You want to go to the playground even though the emotional bully is there waiting to push you down the slide. You want to have that chance to have some fun.
We give birth to hope, dreams and opportunity on a daily basis but no set of brass knuckles or samurai sword can protect them from the onslaught of reality that’s waiting for them. The possible and the probable meet at the playground every day for a fight, one trying to protect you from a bruised ego, the other trying to break your spirit.
The Earth is a beautiful place, but the world can be fucked up.
Now that I know that we’re having a girl, my mind has shifted to pick-up trucks, guns and all other erstwhile threatening objects so that I can keep her as safe as possible. No ne’er-do-wells or hooligans are going to hurt her. No stranger with candy is going to steal her. No kid that didn’t wash his hands properly is going to give her pink eye. I’m going to do my damndest to make sure of that.
What I can’t do, unfortunately, is protect her from herself. It’s going to be hard to explain why hope can beautiful but reality can be fucked up. I don’t know what it’s going to be like the day that she realizes not every dream is meant to come true. I don’t want her to become cynical or apathetic.
But the one thing I can do for myself and the one thing I can teach her is to keep trying. Trying might mean getting your feelings hurt or trying might mean disappointment, but trying is the first step to opportunity and opportunity is the door to success. We can always try.
Just like I’m trying to buy me that Chevy Silverado 2500 Crew Cab with the gun rack.