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It Wasn't Meant To Be, Obviously!

By       Message James Armstrong II     Permalink
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I've been told to "get a job!" in the past and people just don't get it. Some of us are not meant to interact with you people. We can't put up with the bullshit you can. You have some filter, we do not. We hate all of it, and are better off doing our own thing, as opposed to strangling all of you with the strap of your own bullshit (il)logical thinking, all based upon some phony notion of "fair play" and "work hard" so you can sh*t on us because your life sucks and you hate it.


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I am not supposed to work in any sort of service industry whatsoever, unless that service industry has to do with writing, because I just can't get into what is going down lately... nor do I wish this for myself.

They need Wage Slaves to get to their ends met. They rely on it, in fact. Without it they could not wield this power over us. We are the only thing keeping it alive. Again, it's almost as though the cancer has hooked its claws into a vital organ and the oncologist advises you use radiation and chemotherapy. In other words, if you're poor, it's a death sentence. But that is not the truth. Not even close. That's the perception, not the reality. The reality of the situation is it can be handled. But we have to have intelligence, heart and courage, oh my.

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All those shitty jobs I have taken in my life ended up being source material. One of my gift-curses is a memory sharp enough to remember most of the crappier jobs I've ever had. And there were many. From all sorts of sources and all sorts of reasons. When I lived in Florida, from the ages of 18-22 there were many dumb jobs. I would work labor pool places. I would work fast food places. I would work landscaping and construction. I would work Swenson's Ice Cream and install waterbeds and move furniture all over Miami/Ft. Lauderdale area. I would install seats in sports arenas and haul produce and F.A.K. (Freight of All Kind) via the company's 52' trailer from Montebello, California to Everett, Washington and a few points in between.

And what I have learned from all of this is, I'm glad I was screwed over in most those jobs. The others I hated and just sabotaged myself. But it's the jobs I was screwed I wish to highlight a bit... some of them, anyway. No, not because I want to whine about it, even though I will. It's because, ironically, it was the best thing for me. Otherwise, I may still be in those crappy, dead-end jobs and would most likely had eaten that ever elusive bullet already, after planting a few seeds in a woman I don't love.

I've been fired for being set up. Jealousy and climbing the business ladder on the backs of your co-worker was just two reasons I was fired. So many bad jobs and so many bad bosses. I once worked at a Wendy's fast food restaurant in Fort Lauderdale, Florida... the one on 17th Street Causeway, near Federal Highway and the hospital... and near Spielberg's obscene, behemoth-sized, overcompensated-for yacht. My boss, at the time of employment, was a crack head. He got me on it while we closed the store. One night, all the power shut down, but only on our side of the block. My boss flipped out and hid under his desk, claiming, "THE FEDS ARE OUT THERE! THEY'VE CUT THE POWER! THEY'RE COMING IN FOR US! THEY KNOW WE'RE HIGH MA'AN!"

Of course it wasn't that. He was fired not that long after for stealing, not too surprisingly. I quit because it was Wendy's and decided hammering sixteen-penny nails into the head of my penis was more preferable and tolerable. Right behind forcible sodomy, of course. And this is only one bad experience I've had where the "job" was not conducive to my sanity or spiritual well-being.

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Once in Cypress, California, I was fired by Fuji Film because the foreman was a jealous twit. I was getting along too well with one of the girls from the assembly line that he liked. He made something up about me and reported that lie to his superiors, and since I was the new guy, I was fired. And this type of stuff is not all that rare, folks. This type of situation, not necessarily about a girl every time, but similar back-stabbing situations arose in my life. I would beat someone's ass for it once, too. That felt good, actually. Sometimes people do need their asses kicked so they realize they can't step on whoever they like. Sometimes the bully needs a kicking, square in the nuts.

I've been fired by Schneider National Trucking because my boss failed to do his job. A lot like with the 1969 book "The Peter Principle," where incompetence is rewarded because it keeps firing those who can shine light on their mistakes or are threatened by that person's intelligence, and worry about competition, this is what occurred with me and this trucking company. With them it was the former, I believe. Because I did my job by reporting the petty maneuvering issues I was having with my truck and trailer, but only in the yard. It wasn't a big deal. But it needed correcting. So I reported three incidents, all self-induced, and in the trailer yard, where it was contained. No worries of extraneous injuries or lawsuits.

After reporting these three incidents, of which I never had to report, because they were so minor I could have gotten away with being dishonest. However, at this time of my life I was going for a more honest, straight-forward approach. I wanted to do the right thing, so I did. Sometimes, "no good deed goes unpunished."

My deliveries ran primarily from Long Beach to Seattle. Our office was out of West Sacramento, California. So I would come through every few days. I would either have a load to take or pick one up from the yard and head out. It is also a great time to re-train me on the yard maneuvering.


Three times I came through, and this guy was "sorry, but I'm too busy to assist you right now, James." They then handed me a load to Carmel Valley, California, where I was told to drive out to a two-lane, country-highway road and make one of the trickiest maneuvers, ever. I had to shoot a button hook move into a small target, and that target had bushes on either end and overhead, which ended up taking out a piece of the furring atop my rig. It wasn't "easier than shooting Womp-Rats in Beggars' Canyon back home ...," that's for sure. It was a nightmare and I should not have been nowhere near that delivery, considering that was my issue. Sure, I could have not taken the delivery and attempted it once I saw it, but I was asked to "do a favor." This time, good deeds, done, dirty, cheap.

Bon Scott and Luke Skywalker would not have taken this lying down, and neither did I. Nevertheless, I was scapegoated for my boss's apparent mistake. And when I went down to Los Angeles with a load of useless American plastics, to the Montebello yard, I finally received the re-training needed. The instructor took me all over the downtown Los Angeles area, during lunchtime, no less. I passed with flying colors. I told him it wasn't the driving or taking turns or shifting I had issues with. It was the stupid maneuvering stuff in the yard. Nothing, really, but I reported it, so I had to fix it. The instructor informed me that my driving was at a "Phase 3 level," and I was getting paid at the "Phase 1 level" at that time. He fixed my maneuvering issues and sent me on my way with a recommendation that I receive a raise to Phase 3.

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Then I hooked up a load and headed to Salem, Oregon. A Target load. One of their major accounts. On the way back from Oregon with that particular load I had a tire blow out, so I stopped in Redding, where I lived at the time, at the TA Travel Center. I called blowout into the office and the next day received a new tire from that truck stop and was on my way. My boss left me a message to stop in and see him before I headed to Fontana, I believe it was. He told me the load would be picked up by another driver and that I would "get another load out when we are done."


I stopped in at the West Sacramento office and they started treating me like a Pariah right off the bat. I was made to sit in a small office with the door closed while awaiting "the two Bob's," it felt like, to decide my fate. I believe I also read, "Planning To Plan" on the chalkboard behind the empty, lonely, abandon desk sitting like a museum piece and something utilitarian. Like this room was the guillotine and my head was going to roll right into the top drawer of that desk.

Then two female (by design) managers, not my "boss," came in and said the words, "I think it's time we 'part ways.'"

I then asked, "Are we breaking up or something?"

Thud. Nothing. These two sociopaths had their sense of humor sensor removed sometime during their managing stint at the Spice Mines of Kessel. These two women would make The Dark Lord Vader whimper tears of fear, scurrying away like a frightened alter boy at a Catholic Priest retreat. I was pissed. I left the death chamber and headed straight for their pay phone, hanging on the wall of their den of inequity. I called my then wife to pick me up. I raised my voice, too. You could see heads of dispatchers popping up like gophers in my grandmother's Long Beach backyard back in '74, only I didn't get to take a hoe and whack their cute little furry heads off, like did my Alabama-born-and-raised grandmother.

Should have, but didn't. I like my "freedom," even if it is waning.

This is the Universe telling me I am not meant to work in that type environment. Any sort of interaction with human beings for extended periods of time. It seems to only exacerbate an already tenuous situation, whereby I have to listen to someone drone on and on about their family problems they shouldn't be bringing to work; problems that manifest into some butt-hurt exchange with that very same "boss" at a later time of their choosing, as they use it as a trump card, or butcher's mallet. This means I have to isolate myself and b*tch about all of it. Which turns into columns and maybe a book, if I can ever get away from the politics, which is tough because they won't let me.

In no other area of life do people tell you to keep doing the same thing over and over and expect you to produce a different result. These same folks call it "insanity." Yet, not with "work"? That is where everyone seems to be brainwashed the same. Conditioning of the dumbest order, really. The fear ful yelling at the fear less that they know the answer, while running, running, running? In circles, circles, circles? Meanwhile, I sit and observe, and write... and observe... and write... and observe, and ridicule, and observe. Yeah, I could be a little gentler; "nice guys finish last." -Some (Observant) Guy

So many crappy jobs, too many lousy bosses, with issues, but that is redundant. And now some Chicken Hawk "Temp Service" would like to do me a huge favor! They want to "pay" me "$12.50 an hour" to protect, money? That's right. This "job" would be an "armed driver" for some Brinks-type money-protecting company. And the reason I am only getting $12.50 an hour is because that Chicken Hawk Temp Service is making money off me. That's right. There is a "middle man." And that middle man has been there a while, too. It's one of the reasons I gave up. And if you want me to risk life and limb you're going to have to bump that pay up a bit. $12.50 an hour will get you your rent in the East Bay, but that's it. And I am not dying or shooting a loaded weapon in a public space, potentially harming or killing someone else, for less than $50.00 an hour, and you better train me properly, too.

It wasn't meant to be, obviously! Why force a square peg into a round hole? What would be the point of that? You could probably do it, if you get a hammer and force it, I guess. But is that really working? And why force something. Sodomy can be fun, if both parties are interested. But if both parties are not into that sort of activity, one side could get butt-hurt, literally and figuratively.

I do not force much anymore. If it flows, I do it. If it doesn't, I don't. Simplifying one's life is the key. I watch too many people running around, way too busy to smell the roses or see just how they're screwing us all. Always worrying about where or how they are going to plug in their unnecessary devices (vices), getting more minutes and repeating this process weakly. Or maybe that's the key: moving around so much you don't have to see or deal with it? I dunno. All I know is it doesn't work for me and I do not wish to participate any more, not that I ever have....

-James Richard Armstrong II


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I'm a homeless student, writer, and activist... currently panhandling my way through school (and life.).
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