CHAPTER 1 – ME
This is the part of the story where I get to introduce myself. Characterizing one’s self is a duplicitous honor. Knowing myself, as I hope I do – though one always does wonder -, I would seem to be an excellent source for stating my character’s true intent. Yet, even the most introspective of us can fail to the objectivity needed to do the thing that needs doing. Someone looking in through my fish bowl may actually be able to see the actions and interpret those actions based on knowledge of said character. Basically, getting to know somebody is hard work. This is the first of many deep insights into the human psyche you can hope to receive from this adventure.
I suppose this is a problem that all authors, even the great Charles Dickens, ran into. Does he really know what it’s like to be an orphan in industrial England? I think he did top-notch work – as well as I can understand such things. And fiction is much easier to depict that real life. Cause, well, you get to decide what the characters think and feel. But this, this is my life. Like it or not, you don’t get to decide. Sadly, my life is not a “choose your own adventure” novel. And if it were, I’m afraid most of your major choices would revolve around mac & cheese and top ramen. Though I suppose some resemble a tragedy in the traditional Shakespearean form – comedy = ending with a wedding; tragedy = ending with a death -, while others resemble more of a tragedy of monotony. This is truly a fate far more gruesome than death itself – unless you have an endless supply of preservative-laden brownies to show the way. Who needs Gandolf, when you’ve got caloric nirvana?
So in deciding how to introduce myself to you, I have opted to break my life down into a few fairly easy to digest categories. I chose this route because…actually, the categories are arbitrary. Who knows where thoughts really come from? Sometimes they just appear.
Tall, dark, and handsome. That’s what we want our protagonist to be, right? Fits better into the ideal we’ve built up in our minds. I’m sure to disappoint your protagonistic paradigm, so let’s just dispense with that unpleasant revelation now. It’ll be easier for you in the long run. If there were a bell curve to describe human looks – and I feel confident we are just hedonistic enough to indulge such trivialities – I would be located in the dead center. I don’t work out at the gym or anything, but the cliché – and as Stevenson said, who can ever really love a man who believes in clichés? – “average Joe” does come to mind.
I solace myself with the affirmation of my college prof, who said a hero is an ordinary person who overcomes extraordinary circumstances. If this is true, then I am well prepared to be the greatest hero of all time. But instead of working on my rock-tight abs and saving DID’s, I prefer a coffee shop and some F. Scott Fitzgerald. All great capers seem to come upon our heroes when they least expect it. Thus, every day is a possible caper in my world. No doubt this is the quickest way to true heroic fulfillment.
Medium high. Medium build. Medium length hair – if you can believe it. The breaks just keep on coming. Just picture any random guy you’ve passed on the street and picture him in my place as I discuss the hilarity and bodacious hijinks of my life. You are already excited; I can tell.
Shall I list my jobs in alphabetical or chronological order? Then again, maybe significant contributions to the general well-being of society should be the order of the day. At least this last category would make the ranking process short work for me. In the most general sense of the word, one could refer to me as a college student. So fill in the blanks with the list of ever so exciting job opportunities that are thrown at us as we walk off the platform, high school diploma in hand. It’s an exciting world of monotonous labor that we boldly rush into. Sure am glad I took geometry. Otherwise it’s doubtful I would’ve ever figured out how to wrap that taco just right.
If I were to list one of my marketable skills, I would certainly have to go with “customer service.” This just means that, like the great middle-of-the roaders that have gone before me, I keep getting stuck in jobs that I have to deal with people. Some come already equipped with this ability. For the rest of us, we just have to get thrown into enough situations so we can figure it out. Basically, if you get enough food items thrown back in your face, you figure out the correct smile to wear while wiping off the “secret sauce of the week.” With that in mind, food catching should be the next great Olympic sport. At least I’d feel like we were actually getting prepared for something in life.
Currently I am a member of the heralded trade that is dishwashing. I get them pretty clean most of the time. You’re welcome in advance. (This detail really isn’t that relevant, since the stories are not exactly chronological. But you will get to find out some exciting details about how your food is really treated. Once again, you’re welcome.)
I have taken a few college classes here and there. But why would I really consider giving up the glitz and glamour of my current career path for a life of memorizing just enough to get by. Remember that C’s get degrees. That’s why I always ask to see a doctor’s transcript. Do you really want the C-Degree guy cutting you open? I guess the odds are 70-80% of whatever the original success percentage of the operation is anyhow. My brother just got his Bachelor’s in Endocrinology. Yep. That’s what I said.
My abode rests in the hidden hamlet of Hayden,Idaho. (Like that alliteration? I should be the PR guy for the chamber of commerce.) It’s a great place to swim, ski, and generally embrace early retirement. I play cribbage with my neighbor Ted sometimes; he actually is retired. We tried playing shuffleboard once, but it was too much for Ted to handle. I had to take too many breaks, so he only lets me play sit-down games now. Pretty sure that’s just an excuse, but I wasn’t exactly prepared to argue with the guy. Am I proud of being afraid of a retired former coast guard chef? Not necessarily, but I’ve already worked hard to establish myself as more of a non-traditional protagonist, so I can cope.
Idaho is the state the nation forgets about. Sure, we get on the news every now and again for a crazed gunman or fanatical group building a new compound. A friend of mine was in New York and got asked by a few kids where she was from. After pronouncing the name a few times to limited recognition, they proceeded to ask her if we have internet here. That’s us; the hillbillies who still use smoke signals and Morse Code. Have you tried “LOL”ing or winky facing with a series of dashes and dots? Not as fun as it sounds.
Fortunately, North Idaho is a great opportunity for the wealthy to come, hang out, and support our economy. There is no end to the list of menial jobs I can hold to fulfill the hopes and dreams of my societal betters. Cleaning and/or housekeeping opportunities haven’t filled my job history box yet. Not that I haven’t tried. Apparently bringing snapshots of your apartment to the interview is not what they’re looking for, which just feels counter-intuitive. Probably better if the pictures were of a clean apartment. I explained to them that I like to think of cleaning as more of an art than a science. In which case, you can call me Picasso.
I’m tired of talking about myself now. So you’re just going to have to find the rest out. Oh yeah, my name is Steve. This is the life and times of me. Like how I tied that in?