Digital Cowboy

Digital Cowboy
Poker is life. Life is poker.

Archive for October, 2005

Hourly or Salary?

Tuesday, October 25th, 2005

I’ve never seen any job as anything other than temporary because I’ve never seen any job as a lifestyle. I’ve approached every job I’ve ever had as if I was an independent contractor. Exceed expectations, make yourself worth more to the company than they are to you, and you can raise your rates. Under Promise and Over Perform. That’s always been my motto.

I’ve worked many hourly jobs. I always considered them “blue-collar” jobs even when they were professional. A true professional doesn’t punch a clock, I said.

I proved it by graduating through many “blue-collar” jobs to a salaried position. Then another and through a series of promotions to another.

There I got a number of ‘superior” performance reviews. It was the first job I had ever had in my life that I believed I could retire from. “These people treat me so well that I can give up that idea of self-employment.” Unfortunately it was also the last. I was fired from that job after 5 years of great performance reviews.

Wanna know why?

Here’s the official line, “There’s a perception that you weren’t in the office enough.”

That, in spite of working in excess of 60 hours a week, on average, for over 3 years. I was also on call 24/7 for nearly a year straight, more than once. (On call responsibility was supposed to be rotated every other month.) I would often get paged and be woken at 2 or 3 am to “go to work.” I did it, every time. It was usually someone else’s mistake that I was up fixing at 4 am and the pager had woken up not just me, but my wife and some times my kids. If I was fortunate, it would only take a few minutes to fix. Some times it took hours.

But the 9 to 5′ers that were always leaving early to take their kids to the doctor or coming in late because their kids were sick were completely excused. In fact, I showed my manager, on paper, with numbers, that in spite of fighting an incredibly stressful court battle and becoming a single father during the previous year, I’d missed less work than at least two of the women on our small team.

“But they had maternity leave,” he said. “That was approved by HR.”

“Yes, Dave, and this is Lisa’s second, paid 12 week maternity leave in three years. She’s been gone entirely for 24 of the last 156 work weeks. And that doesn’t count vacation time. She’s selling out her family by refusing to be a mother and you’re rewarding that. I’m being told that I’m on probation and may lose my job because I’m in court fighting for my children and trying to take care of them. How is it different… I mean, other than that I’m doing what’s right and she’s not? Wait! I know another, I’ve been doing most of her job for a long time because she’s perpetually pregnant or on maternity leave.”

His answer for that was, “HR makes those rules. That’s not what we’re here to discuss.” I’ll bet HR doesn’t have an adequate explanation either.

Answer to the title question?

Neither. You’re never free or secure unless you’re working for yourself. I’m not saying you can’t do it working in somebody else’s company, but I’m pretty sure you can’t.

Back down?

Tuesday, October 25th, 2005

A real man knows when to back down. A real man also knows when that’s not a viable option. Having been in both places, I can say they must both come from a spiritually informed place.

Kenny Rogers perverted the concept by summing it up as “You’ve got to know when to hold ‘em and when to fold ‘em. Know when to walk away and know when to run.”

Study the gospels and let me know how many times that you find Jesus:

  • Holding
  • Folding
  • Walking away
  • Running

I think I could find places where he did all of them.

This is not a gambling post and please kill me if I ever find theology in a Kenny Rogers song. That’s not what I’m doing here.

I’m just saying that there are many times when a man must stand and fight, even if he’s risking everything including his life. There are other times where a man’s being threatened and he must realize that the fight is pointless because either way he loses.

Maybe I’m just rambling. I think my original point is that the concept of masculinity has been perverted by country music and its culture as well as by rap music and its culture. They’re both responding to a world that preaches “violence doesn’t solve anything.”

I don’t believe that because it’s silly on its face. Often, in an immediate sense, violence solves everything. But I believe violence is rarely necessary and can only carefully be justified.

That’s one of the marks of masculinity: One that seeks to avoid violence, but is also prepared to handle it without fear.

Lyrics for me

Sunday, October 23rd, 2005

I met a man in a dive
down in New Orleans.
I recognized his handsome face.
It was none of my business
but I had to know
what he was doin’ in this kinda place.

‘Cause he used to have money.
He used to have honeys.
He used to be society’s prince.
But he still wore a grin
when I sat beside him
and asked where all that money went.

He said, “Some was spent on gamblin’,
A lot was spent on women.
A little on some good Cabernet.
Three or four divorces.
At least as many horses,
That never left the starting gate.

“Diamond rings and furs,
Swampland in New Jersey,
That week I spent a year in L.A.
You know I hate to admit it,
But I threw the rest away.”

He said, “Money don’t mean nothin’
in this game of life.
It’s just a way of keepin’ score.
Show me a man whose got everything,
I’ll show you one who wants even more.

“So smoke ‘em if you got ‘em
But when you hit bottom,
Ya gotta have a reason to smile.
You? You can have a little piece of the rock.
I’ll take a little peace of mind.”

Lyrics for Lisa

Sunday, October 23rd, 2005

Lisa seems to think she’s immune from my cantankerousness. She suggested Jimmy Buffett as a topic. Just a warning to the rest of you, some of the language what follows below will be offensive to many and “NSFW” if you work for prudes. I don’t care anymore.

I only came close to being married twice. The second relationship resulted in marriage, my lovely daughters and my current problems. The first ended at a Parrot Head Party. I had been shopping for engagement rings and thinking about proposing to her at the Buffett concert. We partied all day with the Parrot Heads and had a good time, mostly. At the very end, we got in a fight and broke up just before the concert started. We both “attended” the actual concert alone and pissed off. It was a long drive home and I was so fed up with her by the end of the show that she almost didn’t get a ride home from me. At the time, I thought it was an awfully expensive breakup. If I’d only known then how much more expensive they could get….

With that and Lisa in mind, I give you the following lyrics:

“(spoken intro)
This song’s for all the people that’s, uh, been reviewin’ our records in different magazines and things and mentioning the fact that, we sound a lot like Jimmy Buffett because we live in Key West and we use congo drums in our songs.

And, uh, to all those people that are under the misconception that Mr. Buffett lives in Key West, we’d like to say that there is a lot of things in Key West. As a matter of fact:

There’s sailboats and conch shells and palm trees galore,
But Jimmy Buffett doesn’t live in Key West, anymore.

Sister Sparechange has a bumper sticker on her door.
Says, “Jimmy Buffett doesn’t live in Key West, anymore.”

Hey, smugglers leave those Buffett songs.
Snitching on the sly.
Bringin’ heat where it’s already too damn hot to die.

Son of a son of a son of a bitch,
What’s all that bullshit for?
Jimmy Buffett – he don’t live in Key West, anymore.

Sailing to the Caribbean,
Jimmy might well be.
Picture’s up in ‘Rolling Stone’
For all the world to see.

The rich keep gettin’ richer
The poor, they just stay poor.
And Jimmy Buffett doesn’t live in Key West, anymore.

Now Jimmy’s moved to Malibu
With all those other stars.
He’s not down Duval street
Hangin’ out in bars.

All them goddamn tourists
Have got’ to be a bore.
Jimmy Buffett doesn’t live
in Key West anymore.

So don’t tell me I sound like Jimmy Buffett
Just because I got that island beat.
Jimmy might’ve grown up on the ocean.
Me? I’ve kinda grown up on the street.

Music’s just a way of life and
Me, I’m livin’ free.
So don’t lay all that
Key West, Jimmy Buffett shit on me.

Now ‘Diver’s Do It Deeper’
Must have really made them mad.
Some of them reviewers said
It really sounded bad.

Well, they liked ‘Margaritaville.’
And me, I liked it, too.
Someday, Jimmy, why don’t we
Just both get drunk and screw?

Call all them creepy mother fuckers
that think music is a whore,
and tell ‘em that ya just don’t live
In Key West, anymore.

Real masculinity v. evil

Sunday, October 23rd, 2005

I’ll personally take all the abuse you can dish out. Be aware that you don’t have enough, because physical pain is temporary and I don’t care in the slightest what you think.

But if you ever set out to hurt someone that I love or I am charged to protect, you can be certain without wavering that I’ll gladly give my life to take yours.

I mean that and I’ll feel no guilt, either. Pride would be a greater problem for me than guilt after I slit your throat.

I also just summed up true masculinity and the basic Gospel in three sentences.

If a man doesn’t exist to be a buffer, he hasn’t learned how to be a man yet.