Saturday, December 04, 2004

Genesis

I was sitting in my own little personal psychological torture chamber (also known as a “cubicle” in most multi-national corporations), when I was suddenly struck by an epiphany over a cold cup of really bad vending machine coffee. I had just been informed that, though the rest of my team had been suddenly laid off due to budgetary reasons, I was being retained. I should have been relieved and maybe even a little proud of myself for making the cut even though the rest of my group, most of whom are far more pedigreed and technologically talented than myself, did not. In actuality however I actually envied my teammates to a certain extent and, though genuinely concerned about my friends becoming suddenly unemployed in an uncertain job market, felt as if I had somehow been left behind. It was then that I realized that I was so disenchanted with my professional life that I actually thought that courting financial ruin and risking relocating my family to a cardboard condo overlooking the Canadian Riviera a preferable alternative to gainful employment in a multinational automotive corporation.

At that point, I felt as if my entire existence desperately needed a sober re-evaluation. Unfortunately, sobriety has never been one of my strongest character traits so what I ended up with was an alcohol-fueled list of things that I wanted to achieve in life, written in ink on the back of a dirty bar napkin. Some of the entries were reasonable and obtainable, such as the several pertaining to getting more beer that evening. Others, such as the one about shooting a video of Osama bin Laden wearing a leather negligee and Richard Nixon mask while sharing a box of Twinkies with Martha Stewart (which I was certain would fetch a hefty commission from the CIA, SEC and National Enquirer), were somewhat less so.

By midnight, my blood alcohol level finally surpassed my IQ. After looking over what, at the time, I considered to be an exceptional bar-napkin-list of money-making alternatives, I found myself enveloped with a comforting aura of overconfidence and invincibility. I decided right there to quit my job. I grabbed another bar napkin and scribbled out my nine-word letter of resignation. It read, or more accurately would have read had it been legible,

“Dear HR,

You suck. I quit.

Get F---ed,

Me.”

I then settled my tab, put on my coat and began making my way back to the office to turn it in. I had barely reached the parking lot when I began to think that just handing my letter to some flunky in HR was not going to suffice. I wanted to make a statement. I wanted bridges burned. I wanted to make absolutely sure that I crossed a point of no return, that no matter how hard I begged, once I quit, they could not take pity upon me and take me back. I decided I was going to turn my resignation in while dressed in nothing but a gaudy sombrero and a French tickler. I was going to quit naked.

Fortunately, my master plan of spectacularly terminating my own employment in the buff started running into serious hitches from its inception. For starters, I was way too drunk to find my car keys let alone attempt to drive the quarter mile back to work. Second, it was highly unlikely that I would find an HR flunky at the office at a quarter to one in the morning and the only thing I would likely accomplish by the immediate execution of my master plan was freaking out the third-shift cleaning lady while earning a coveted spot on the state offender registry’s Hall of Fame. Third, I didn’t own a gaudy sombrero. Fourth, I had no idea what a French tickler actually was or where I could possibly find one at that ungodly hour. Last, but certainly not least, I recognized that the same instinct pushing me towards carrying out this last act of professional suicide was the very same one that, in my younger years, often persuaded me to pick fights with bruising bar brawlers three times my size. As those incidents nearly always ended up with me in a lot of pain and saddled with expensive dental bills, I decided to sleep on my master plan and carry it out if it still seemed like a great idea Monday morning.

The next day I woke up on my living room couch. My head felt as if it had just endured a chainsaw lobotomy, my eyes were redder than an embarrassed Chairman Mao in rouge and I had a taste in my mouth that caused me to suspect that I had mistakenly liberated a midnight snack from the cat’s litterbox. I had covered myself up with a Little Mermaid blanket that was sized to accommodate one of my daughter’s baby dolls. Luckily, I had never bothered to remove my coat or shoes so I did not get too cold during the night. I had however, slept deeply in a position that would have been the envy of any yoga guru worth his salt causing me, a non-yoga practitioner, excruciating bolts of pain throughout my body at the slightest attempt at movement. Unfortunately, I also had to deal with a morning bladder that was filled far beyond capacity making not only movement, but very swift movement, an immediate necessity if I was to avoid expensive couch cleaning charges, an incredible loss of personal dignity, and the setting of a very bad example to my young son who was at a critical stage of his own potty training.

Eventually, I did make it off of the couch and answered nature’s call but not without a great deal of excruciating agony. It was evident early on that I was not going to be good for much more than spending the day lying around pondering my future.

The allure of my sans wardrobe resignation plan faded away with the final mind-scrambling effects of the thirteen-plus beers I had consumed the night before. I was married with two children with a third on the way. I was in the process of building a new house three times the size of my old one and actually, with all things considered, I had a pretty good gig with the company I worked for. I am a benchmark engineer, also known as a technical intelligence analyst in some companies. In short, I get paid to find out what my company’s competitors are up to. I tear apart products to figure out what makes them better or worse or cheaper or more expensive than our own. A couple of times a year, I fly to Europe and Asia to cover one of the international car shows. Though the pay is not making me rich, it’s keeping me well away from the poor house and overall, I could be doing much worse.

Still, I thought that I could do better. I felt that if I really put my mind to it, I could figure out a way to make more money and spend a lot less time doing it. I decided to list what I believed to be my best talents and try to figure out how I could profit by them.

The first talent that came to mind was my uncanny ability to party far harder than my fragile psyche could handle. I decided however that the area I lived in already had far more town drunks than the market could handle and by the looks of them, it was a career choice with negative income potential. True, my inherent susceptibility to spontaneous acts of random nudity while under the influence could bring a new gimmick to the field but with my tragic lack of a bodacious backside, I did not see how I could possibly make a living off of it.

The second talent on my list was my writing ability. This was the main catalyst that had advanced me through my career to this point and likely to be my most significant saleable skill. I needed to find a way to exploit this that did not require a lot of time or financial investment.

A third talent, one that had lain dormant for my entire life until I recently discovered it by accident, was the ability to draw cartoon characters. I considered trying to start a comic strip, but the market is already so flooded with potential cartoonists that it is virtually impossible to get syndicated. I also realize that my sense of humor, though by no means vulgar, was not necessarily suitable for a family newspaper either. I figured my odds of success in this field would be greatly improved by building a following prior to submission for syndication.

My next step was to figure out how to get my work out into the market. The internet was the obvious choice, but for someone who is extremely cyber-retarded, the mechanics of designing, publishing and maintaining a website are daunting. There are also costs involved that are a little prohibitive for a man with a wife, 2 1/3 kids, a mortgage, a new house under construction and a liver that grows morbidly suicidal every other week. Then there was blogging.

Prior to the 2004 presidential election, I thought blogging was something kids were doing these days with a hallucinogenic mix of vintage industrial solvents and brown paper bags. The more I read into it however, the more appealing it became as a good place to start, hence the birth of The JEP Report.

So, what do I expect to accomplish from this new endeavor? Well, I hope to, at the very least, possibly initiate an enjoyable hobby and creative outlet. If The JEP Report manages to build any type of following, I hope to maybe sell some advertising space on it and possibly supplement my income. If the blog’s following grows, I can try to sell related products off of it, hopefully increasing its profitability. Then of course, there are always the remote possibilities of being discovered on-line. Maybe I can score a lucrative writing gig or syndicate a comic strip. I could become rich. I could become famous. I could also have fallen victim to my own computer illiteracy and after years of effort building The JEP Report, discover that the settings were on “Personal Private Diary” mode and realize that I spent all that time writing to, effectively, myself.

The possibilities are endless. I have no idea what this will lead to or what I will eventually accomplish but, as the ancient Chinese saying goes, “The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step”.

Welcome to The JEP Report. I hope that you will enjoy the ride.

3 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Okay, you know by now that I am hooked and I hope that many others are too.


After ZUG, this is the website which I frequent most... well, frequently.

Keep up the great work, and I know that when you publish, it will become a cult classic, and maybe even spawn a line of t-shirts, and of course, action figures.

hannah

10:12 AM  
Anonymous Grabem and Pat_Em said...

Well it seems I have made it to the beginning. I wish I would have read it the other way as the frst few entries gave me a much greater appreciation of whats going on. You have another loyal reader in me and I wish you the best of luck for the future. You are a funny guy and one of the few Republicans who I can read and still respect their opinion. I love the alliteration and the little sayings throughout your work such as your interest in "street pharmaceuticals and amateur gynecology." As they say on Zug, comedy gold! Keep up the good work.

7:46 PM  
Blogger JEP said...

Thank You Grab 'em. Appreciate having another reader greatly!

9:47 PM  

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