Penetration Before Detonation

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Going along the line of my last post about boxes full of my Air Force and AMMO shit that my wife got ahold of, I decided that my last post merely scratched the surface of a few topics that I finally decided to discuss. If you didn’t read We Live So Others May Die then this may seem pretty random and might not make total sense, but then again that can be said for most of the shit I write anyway. I had left out my jacket from the last story, I think I got sidetracked or something. But, the jacket pictured is a big part in ways of expressing and explaining how I’ve changed over the last 15 years since getting out of the Air Force. How so? In many ways one might say I matured, maybe grew up is better, since I was 32 at the time of exiting. The things that were my life and priorities were very different only a week later, no more eating all things dangerous for breakfast and shitting tiffany bullets by dinner, providing the enemy the opportunity to die for his country was no longer printed on my business cards. Overnight my life as I knew it was upside down, it was a disaster and a hard first few weeks, and slowly the stress of that job faded.

But let’s go back first, way back. My dad was a retired Air Force Chief Master Sergeant before I was born in 68. It wasn’t until my teen years that he began to open up to me about his military career. The thing that used to intrigue me the most about his career was him telling me, in a joking manner, that Uncle Sam used to pay him to blow shit up, and I thought that he had to have had the best job known to man. My mind was made up, I was joining the Air Force and do what he did. However, by the time it was time certain jobs had been retired and new ones created. Let history show that I chose to be a 461. Now, we all have heard that Air Force basic training is relatively easy, right? Right. I won’t lie, it was easy. I think it’s easy because they’re not really training “soldiers” or “badasses” by definition, they’re teaching military service as a way of life, like summer camp but with better weapons, because they know one is in the air force to do things on the more technical side. Blah, blah, blah, it was a breeze. Technical school for the 461 was a crash course in how not to end up dead, full of many technical terms, safety, and how one must absolutely positively respect explosives or they simply put your dog tags in an envelope to mail to your next of kin because typically that’s all one can expect to be remaining. All that being said, it stuck with me always, respect. And sure enough I got out with all ten fingers and toes and everything in the middle. I paid the price tho, I drank the kool-aid, I started believing the propaganda as the everloving truth, I would preach it all like the gospel itself. Later in my career I had my wake up call, and at that point I was no longer able to be detached from the horrors of what I helped create.

I wore this jacket everywhere, I wore it with absolute pride knowing if I did my job properly then without prejudice those weapons would function as designed. I mean think about it, without explosives the Air Force is just the world’s largest airline which was even more lore and propaganda, I had a head full of it, it was pounded in until my sweat glands weeped it all back out, it was like the victory lap after being full circle for hundreds of miles yet never going anywhere. It’s a beautiful plan. And just to think that the general population of the United States of America is opposed to the waterboarding of our enemies but it’s OK to brainwash our sons and daughters in the military because we must make stronger soldiers. Bullshit. They break you down and then build the you they think you should be, fuck the real you, the real you is DOA once you sign the dotted line. My whole career was just a dangerous game, I got to dance with the devil and sleep with his daughters all in the name of democracy and the American way. I know this sounds bitter and sarcastic, I’m not trying to, because I actually really loved being in the Air Force. As my jacket reads, I even advertised our services for free every moment I wasn’t in uniform.

Back to present day, this jacket was neatly folded laying on top of everything else in the box, resting for eternity, or so I thought, until I see it has been resurrected. But the emotion I had was not anger for digging up my skeletons, it was a smile and surprise. As soon as I said I would not be wearing it, simply because I had a growth spurt in my mid 30s, my son volunteers to be its proud new owner. Way wrong fucking answer boy, it will never happen. First of all, it is not appropriate to wear to school, I don’t care if he is in the AFJROTC in high school, I really don’t. Sure, it would be cool for him to show off, but all the perverts would find some way of making it a sexual statement. Just say it to yourself and imagine all the meanings. Of course, very few know it is the calling card and slogan for my favorite weapon of all, the BLU-109. Yes, I had a fantastic favorite, seems weird now, stop making it weird people. Plus, its not his “game” to play with people. I can back my shit up, he cannot. Yes, I can remember wanting to wear my father’s uniforms and so forth so I do get the psychology. But the responsible dad part of me just says no to it altogether.

Damn, of course, this story, this little piece of personal history, has gone in so many directions. Oh well, maybe some of y’all get it, and I cannot help the rest of y’all. This reminds me of so much more, I hope this doesn’t constitute violating the terms I signed when I got out, you know the form, don’t ever talk about your job from this day forward or go to federal prison. I knew I would crack one day, I just never knew when. So, until next time boys and girls, remember to eat it every day!

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We Live So Others May Die!

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There is no doubt that over the years I have collected my fair share of AMMO & IYAAYAS memorabilia. Until recently most of which sat in boxes collecting dust in storage. In a way it was me putting my past life to rest and eventually moving on to a civilian life. However, while thinning out boxes, repacking boxes, and deciding what stays and what goes, my wife and son got ahold of everything while I was working. When I came home much of the stuff was hanging on the wall of the hall leading to the master bedroom. It was both a shock and surprise to see most of it. When I asked why I was told that this stuff needed to be out, needed to be seen, and she thought I would appreciate the fact that they took the time to put allot of it on display. I do appreciate the effort, but if I wanted it out of the boxes then I would of done it a long time ago, but no, it remained boxed, hoping until I was dead at least.

I ate, breathed, and lived the motto “We Live So Others May Die” my entire Air Force career and when I got out, my priorities, opinions, and morality changed considerably. Don’t get me wrong, I loved my fucking job every single day, all day long, but once I got out, day by day it just stopped meaning the same thing to me personally. Trust me, there is no better satisfaction than seeing the munitions you had a hand in building get loaded onto an aircraft and not see them come back because when the pilot pulled the trigger the weapons functioned as designed. That was the beautiful part of my job. I always remained disconnected from the damage, death, and destruction because I was in the “supply chain”. We were never the one pulling the trigger.

One day, in an undisclosed place in the mid 90s, I got to witness the true power of what I helped create and happen. I didn’t care for what I saw. I became ashamed of the organization I belonged to. I made up my mind I didn’t want to be a part of it any longer. When I got out I was happy to see the Air Force in my rear view mirror. At that point everything, pictures, memorabilia, uniforms, paperwork, trinkets, and so forth, went into the boxes. I ask myself why I boxed them up instead of burning it all and my answers were clear, I had many great memories of places I had been, people I have met, and experiences I have had. It’s what we do right? We put our memories in frames, shadow boxes, and actual boxes, as keepsakes and so forth. I have always had trouble talking with people in person about my ” job” in the Air Force because it no longer held any “glory” for me. As an example, way back when I was married to my ex, she finally found out what I actually did for a living. Sure, she knew what I did, but she never put two and two together because I never spoke of my job to her, ever. Sure, I had friends doing the same job who we interacted with regularly, most with wives who were friends with mine, but work was never the topic. Then, one day I received a slap to the face as I got told she didn’t want to be married to a baby killer. Yea, I know.

Years later, many years, my boxes full of my past life resurface, now my current wife and 14 year old son have questions. Questions I don’t really want to answer. My wife on the other hand already knew the answers but felt if my son was asking me questions then I needed to be the one answering. How about……. I don’t know…….. maybe……. fuck this shit I don’t want to discuss anything. My son had but one question. He wanted to know what the motto “We Live So Others May Die” meant to me. I’m not going to lie, there were many minutes of silence on my part, as I watched my son reading that phrase over and over on different things now hanging on the wall. What does it mean, really? The simple answer, in my opinion, is that thru training, schooling, education, and brainwashing, we truly were the facilitators of death and destruction, part of a machine which promotes peace through submission. I took great pride knowing that I did my job exceptionally well. However, the me of today is ashamed in many ways to acknowledge that this, in another time, was my life. I should have just burned it all when I had the chance way back when, but I didn’t, lucky me. We also looked at my uniforms, he was particularly interested in my dress blues, as they were still adorned with ribbons, awards, tours, and accolades. Looking now, I had quite the rack. It’s meaningless now I suppose, only because I wonder what it was all for.

I am very proud to have served my country and have the deepest respect for all of the men and women who serve now, have served, or will one day serve. I know it isn’t easy, not during your service and definitely not afterwards, not everyone has an easy transition. The military changes who we are to be who they want and then turn us out back into society. I explained to my son the reason I visit two different Veteran’s homes and the Veteran’s hospital is because I like talking with veterans who don’t seem to have anyone to talk to. I’m not trying to help them nor solve their problems, I just listen and talk, we share our experiences, we smile knowing that we have friends within one another.

After a very long conversation with my son, about the good, the bad, and even the ugly, he stood up and hugged me, it was a deep and meaningful hug which brought tears to my eyes as he whispered that he loved me into my ear. He explained that he wanted me to know he loved me and will always be proud of his dad. He has been going hard at the AFJROTC all year and hopes to one day follow in my footsteps. As much as I would like to desuade him from this career path, I won’t, I want him to fulfill his dreams, I won’t allow my own experiences to be his burden. Don’t know if that makes sense.

I close this post with a final thought, we are who we are, it is what it is, we live our lives as we see fit, hopefully we find some happiness along the way. To all active duty and veterans, I salute each and every one of y’all!

The Ghost Of Halloween’s Past

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When I was a kid around 7 or 8 I had a really great friend. As we got into our early teens we were very close, and now looking back I realize just how close. She was the person I talked to about anything and everything, I even talked to her about girls and she talked to me about the boys. We had that real close cousin type of friendship even though there was no blood relationship, but we were more than friends, our connection went deeper than that, much deeper than one can simply imagine. So, in “honor” of my great friend in life I would like to share some memories, I hope she wouldn’t mind.

The first time I met Gabby I was probably 7 or 8 years old, I was spying on the new girl on the block as she helped her parents unpack the moving truck and I was truly fascinated with everything about her. I was up high in the tree in our front yard, as quiet as a hawk searching for movement in the tall grass, as I watched her blonde hair whip around in the breeze. I got distracted for real and was watching two squirrels fighting over something at the end of the very branch I was laying on. Out of the blue I heard a quiet voice, the whispering voice of a girl asking me if I wanted to climb down so I could play with her. After I climbed down we walked back to the bayou where we caught and played with the crawdads that were everywhere. We didn’t talk much about anything, we just got muddy, laughed, and played. Later on we hear her dad calling out in the distance for Gabby to come home. With big eyes she stole a kiss on the cheek, told me thanks for playing with her, and she was gone into the wind. We would play like this, for hours at a time after school and on the weekends.

We went trick-or-treating together that first year she moved in and that became our “little tradition” for many years to come. We would do crazy shit all year long, pranks, jokes, and so on, always doing it together as much as time would allow. In our early teens our friendship took a turn to the best I think, I never heard her complain either, she noticeably was going from little girl to a young lady. As this happened, we played allot of show and tell and allot of spin the bottle and a fair share of truth or dare, always just us two, nobody else was allowed to participate. It’s just the way it was. Before long we knew more about one another than each other knew about themselves, inside and out. But this was all about to end, I was moving away the summer between 8th and 9th grade to live with my dad in another state. It was a surprise and crushing blow for all of us, family included, as everyone guessed us to start dating because we were inseparable at all times. That was a hard summer for me, I crashed an ultralight aircraft attempting to get my amateur aviation license which should have killed me, but it didn’t luckily. Unfortunately, on my final trip back home at the end of summer, to pack and say goodbye, I was given the terrible news that my dad had a fatal accident while participating in a exposition air show. I buried him a week later. All my plans died with him that day, but the only person I felt I could talk with or just sit with was my best friend Gabby.

High school started right on cue, we had unofficially started dating, meaning we did everything together but weren’t actually together, but everyone but us called it dating, we are just good friends. By our sophomore year the boys were really noticing her and time in our friendship was being stretched beyond control, something had to go, and that something just happened to be me. She dated many boys, I didn’t really have a serious relationship until 11th grade which made our friendship even stranger. In the beginning of that relationship Gabby played dirty, in my spare time she was there, flirting harder than ever, always naked around me when we were alone, always tempting me with the very thing I always thought I wanted, but it never happened, but according to her rumors we were together, we were fucking, and I was taken. A nice story that ended badly. We didn’t speak again until the night of our graduation, where she told me she was leaving soon to go to Air Force basic training, a place I was also going to be but got accepted into college so my enlistment was delayed 24 months. That was it, my first crush was leaving and I didn’t have the nuts to even tell her goodbye or I’m sorry or good luck, I just let her walk away.

I did attend college, I did get married to my high school sweetheart a year later, and did join the Air Force another year later. When all the dust settled and I land at my first base, I find out my sponsor just so happens to be little miss Gabby herself. I had four years to do in Japan, luckily she was leaving in a few months. We partied quite a bit before she left, a habit greatly practiced by ammo troops I soon found out. Yes, if hadn’t guessed, we had the same job, both making the choice we decided way back when in yesteryear. Soon enough she left, leaving me once again. I saw her again, sooner than I thought, as we both were deployed for Desert Storm and were stationed at the same base. It made 8 months fly by, having a friend from home with me. But soon enough we rotated out to our home bases and once again we were separated again. I would see her off and on for the next few years until we ended up in New Mexico together. She had gotten married to a true asshole, I say that because he thought it was okay to beat on her regularly. A disturbing fact that was brought out to my attention one early morning when she showed up in my doorstep with a bloody nose and bleeding lip. That night a few of my friends and I payed him a visit, never before had I tried to kill someone before, but I tried that night. He got the message and slipped away quietly one day soon after, leaving a note announcing he wants a divorce.

Life went on, I divorced my wife, got out the Air Force, and so forth. Meanwhile, Gabby was determined to make a career out of the Air Force, and carried on, gaining rank, ribbons, and accommodations. After two back to back tours in Afghanistan she decided she was done, she retired as a Senior Master Sergeant (E-8) which I had an invitation to the ceremony but had other obligations, so no, I did not attend. I got a phone call from Gabby a few weeks later, announcing she had moved back to Houston and wanted to get together with my family and I for dinner one night soon. My current wife knew very little of Gabby and our lifelong friendship, since I never had a need to talk about my past much, something I’ve been working on lately, and my wife is now realizing that I treat my relationships, friends or family, and with her, very seriously, and I will guard those relationships until the end. She gets it, I think.

Our dinner out was great, everyone including my wife and kids, had a great time talking and visiting. I think my wife looks at me differently now, she never has had anyone explain how my life in the Air Force was except for me, and I tend to not talk much about the details, just keep it short and sweet, the end, story over. That dinner was two years ago, on Halloween night, a night not unlike many before it, we said our goodbyes, made future plans, and we went our separate ways. After getting settled at home, about an hour and a half after leaving the restaurant, I got a phone call from the Constable’s office to inform me that an officer was heading my way to discuss an important matter with me. Soon enough we got the knock on the door, the officer was there to inform me of a fatal automobile accident a few hours ago. Seems I was listed as Gabby’s only next of kin and also the last person she spoke with according to her phone. He explained that a truck traveling the opposite direction hit a deer which resulted in the truck losing control and colliding head on with Gabby’s truck at what was estimated at at least 80 mph, resulting in both being killed at impact. The following day I was asked to formally identify her body and yes it was her. She had a closed casket funeral due to the facial and upper body damage. A very small funeral at the Veteran’s Cemetery here in Houston, most of the people attending were my family. Her flag was presented to me, probably the hardest thing I accepted in life with exception to being 15 and presented my father’s flag at his funeral.

I have bad news for my wife, who recommended I tell this story here today in my spare time, who thought it might make me feel better if I take the time to write about my great friend and our enduring friendship, who is wrong because I don’t feel better, but I did enjoy the trip down memory lane, sort of, but I think I should come clean to y’all, the story y’all read today is only about 1% of everything that ever happened. For now y’all can assume and presume, for now y’all can filter through it all, because for now I’m very done writing about it. In case you are curious, the picture is of Gabby, I took that picture in an undisclosed location in a desert in New Mexico many years ago, alongside a deserted road, she wanted to flash somebody so bad, but after hours just the scorpions, the buzzards, and I were the only ones enjoying the show. It’s a great picture and memory of her, she truly was a graceful and free spirit.

Those Damn Teenage Years

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In a recent conversation with my soon to be fourteen year old son, I was reminded of my youth, the choices I was forced to make, and how rough it really is being that age. I like to think I’m taking a different approach to parenting than the approach my parents took with me, I was raised in a wrath of God house by two very devout Catholics with closet human tendencies. Of course, my wife and my style differs from many parents as I’m told. I also get told I’m doing it wrong, the parents are the boss. Before you assume way to much here, I’m not the “friend” parent type. I am the type of parent who has instilled justifiable fear into his children, after all they live in my house, sleep in my house, and scary shit happens when you least expect it. Anyway, I’ve tried very hard to not raise quitters in a society where quitting has become the norm. I believe in self esteem because without it you have little control of your inward or outward emotions. But, we all get to the point where we start asking when is enough going to be enough, when will the madness end, and why can’t this be easier.

We all have given up at some point. All of us at a certain point have stopped believing that we’ll be able to make it. Some of us have done it often, some just very few times, but all of us know how it feels.The  sad fact is that most of us give up far too soon.My son explained to me that he was thinking the other day, why does he actually give up? What are his most common reasons and are there any ways to get around those reasons for giving up?

He thinks discouragement is the biggest reason for quitting and failure. No matter what you have decided to do, as soon as you share it with people there will be at least few who will tell you that YOU Can’t Do it and come up with different reasons about why it can’t be done. At that point you may decide to give up the idea even before giving it a try.  Instead of thinking about giving up think about how are you going to prove all those people wrong.  In fact proving those who doubt me wrong has been pretty good motivation for me so far, I have spent a lifetime trying to stay on top of my game. As well, if you don’t believe in yourself you will always be tempted to give up because you won’t believe in your success. The self-doubt will be keeping you from pushing forward.

I somehow thought that I was not strong enough to make my dreams come true, but then there was a shift in mindset which sort of set me free. And it was one simple realization. The realization that none of the people who have succeeded are better than me. They worked harder, they were persistent and they believed in their dreams, but they were not actually better, just approached life differently, as most of us do. These days there are so many distractions… Social media, TV series, and different smart phone notifications not letting you focus on the important things. If you don’t keep focus on your goal you will end up with insufficient results and that will discourage you even further. But, as I discussed with my son, social media didn’t exist when I was growing up, none of this shit did. My social media was friends and family. My internet was called “the outdoors”, I earned my allowance by being a part of the family unit team. Unlike today, parents give their children money to just leave them alone. As it is, in our house we are pretty tight, we do allot together on a very regular basis. On top of it all we have dinner together, every night, without fail. Also, no television is on, no cell phones are allowed at the table, and we talk or play games while we eat, there is fun and laughter, and it is also a time to gather to discuss more serious matters, if any.

That reminds me of yet another reason we, as humans, give up, we give up when we don’t get the immediate results. We all want things to happen fast and it is hard to realize that there are things that actually takes time. One can not have instant on and instant off like the flick of a light switch each and every time. Some things, to include pets and people, are more challenging, they take more time, things like trust and value in a person have to be developed and earned, which takes time. There is no such thing as overnight success so we have to keep in mind that it takes time and to be prepared not to give up.

When I am starting something new I am on fire. I am full of enthusiasm and I am motivated. But with the time things may start cooling off and at some point the self-motivation may not be enough to keep me moving. That is when I may think about giving up, that is when I need to go back to beginning and try to recall the big why. Why did I start that project in first place and what was initially motivating me? That brings me back on track most of the time. But still we need motivation, we still need the allure that there is a prize waiting for us at the end. No matter what kind of life you had, you are used to your own personal comfort zone and that brings you great comfort. Now when you have initiated changes you entered the stage of uncertainty and struggle, which by no means is comfortable. What makes me not giving up in those cases is the thought that once I get where I wanna be my new comfort zone will be a much better one. But, what I’ve learned over the years cannot be taught, it has to be experienced. This is my son’s struggle know, the learning curve, stepping out of the comfort zone, finding new experiences doing new things or with new people. Plus, he is at the beautiful age where he has really realized he really likes boobs. One more thing we have in common.

Anything worth achieving is hard. Yes the easiest option is to just give up, but then, will it be easy living with the regret that you gave up midway? On the other hand I would not say that giving up is something terrible and wrong. Sometimes you may end up having too many things on your plate and that may make you overwhelmed. Sometimes you may need to give up certain things because they may not be a priority at that point. I find myself looking at the details in my own life on a regular basis, there is never room for bullshit, it is always the first into the fuckbucket. What is important that you don’t give up your dreams and the things you want really bad. Don’t give up your passion and never give up on life. I understand living with a person like me is challenging, being a sarcastic jackass is a fine art and we all don’t appreciate fine art. We all have given up at some point. All of us at a certain point have stopped believing that we’ll be able to make it. Some of us have done it often, some just very few times, but all of us know how it feels. The  sad fact is that most of us give up far too soon.

Where does all this leave the conversation I was having with my son? Well, he was never actually clear as to what he was thinking about quitting. And, I’m not altogether sure we were even talking about the same thing. Later, while talking with my wife I was informed that a girl he knew in school, friends but not inner circle friends, had committed suicide last week. There was no clear reason why, she left no note, gave the parents no inkling that she was distressed, same with her two sisters, teachers, and friends. Except for one person, who came forward to “confess” to her parents that he knew why. You see, they were boyfriend and girlfriend. She wanted an exclusive relationship (at 14) and he wanted to play the field. She took it had, it killed her self esteem and self worth, and according to him, as she told him, she didn’t feel she was worth the effort of having his love if he was not willing to commit to her. Granted, this is the opinion of a 14 year old boy, and this story was also posted up on Facebook, so I don’t really know if it actually ever happened. But, after going back to my son to talk, he said that I did answer his question of “why people quit” without even knowing that was what I was doing. We talked more, we talked about the cruelty of emotions, especially in a teenager. But suicide is not an easy subject, simply because there isn’t an actual answer to give. The only person who knows is dead.

I don’t know if this makes me angry or sad. I do know that I have been in my sons shoes before, knowing a person who has had her self esteem crushed on a daily basis for “fun” by others. But, that is another topic altogether, since bullying seems to have become so evermore popular these days, or its just more in the public eye these days. As a parent I try to teach my children to hope for the best and prepare for the worst because the two survive together hand in hand. One may think they are just words, but others take those words to heart. As uncomfortable as I was talking with my son about suicide and how I personally believe it should never be the answer for anyone, I was also proud of my son for wanting to sit and talk to me about life, emotions, feelings, relationships, and family with me. It takes courage to begin a conversation with your father when you don’t know what the outcome will be. Both of us feeling a little bummed, we invited the rest of the family to go out for ice cream. Ice cream? Yes, the one thing on the planet stronger than any drug, stronger than and alcohol, stronger than any words, stronger than any bond, it is a time of peace for a troubled mind or a troubled soul. Its a time to take a break from the crap life offers and just enjoy a bite of ice cream.

Yes, I know, ice cream doesn’t solve all problems, but it does give the opportunity to step away from them, not to quit them, but to take a break from them. Everyone needs a break, we all take breaks or celebrate in our own ways. In the end I learned from my son that I should keep my past close so it can be accessed and shared. I never knew my life, in general, would be an education tool for the youth in my family. But then again, we do learn most of what we know from our parents and family. Having children has been the best challenge I never quit. Try something new, get in your child’s head today, give them a nice tight hug, a big smile, and a peck on the cheek. When they ask why just tell them it is because you were thinking about them. It scares the crap out of them. I know from experience that life isn’t easy. It wasn’t designed to be easy. We don’t evolve within ourselves if we are not constantly challenged. Don’t let life discourage you, leave that to the people around you, you know, the people who don’t want you to succeed because they don’t care about succeeding. Until we “meet” again, remember to eat it everyday!

Get Ready! Get Set! Let’s Gooooooooo!

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Most people would frown upon having to be at work before the ass-crack of dawn, but not me. This is my time, this is the time I know that all the people working 9-5 during the week are still curled up in their beds, dreading leaving the comforts they have been enjoying all night long. But that’s not me, I’m the person who roams my house at 3:30 a.m. because I’m plain done sleeping. Regardless if I must go to work or not, I’m up, I’ve always been like this, it’s just the way I’m wired I guess. As I roamed the job site I’m at this morning, in the calm of the morning, still dark, it gave me time to review this past week. As I have mentioned, I have started back to work luckily. With my back to it, I feel the sun beginning to break through the treeline, beginning to become visible over the horizon, peeking through the trees, over the buildings, and of course the power lines which litter the view in any direction one looks. Of course, me being me, me being the one who still likes to meet the sunrise which greets me good morning, needs to grab a picture.

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I have missed very few sunrises in my lifetime, and I have a feeling that won’t change. As I took the second picture I could hear my mother whispering in my ear not to look directly into the sun, then I clicked the picture. What can one more picture with me looking directly into a sunrise hurt, right? As I walked the job site, earbuds in, metal cranked up, I saw the overall picture with the changes that had occurred after my departure the evening before. In many ways, I felt a sigh of relief come over me, because it meant that quite possibly that there would have to be very little ass scrambling happening since there is a great deal which must happen today, as smooth as humanly possible, so concrete can be poured first thing Monday morning. I had said I would get into my new job after a few days, lucky you, today is that day, however, there still isn’t much to say, because I’m in training, I’m studying, I’m learning, and luckily for me, remembering things I never even knew that I knew. Don’t get me wrong, I’m learning more that my memory has served me, but combining the two elements has been making my transition easier for me. Whether or not that serves true with my new boss I can’t say, I probably have been frustrating the shit out if him with all of my questions, he has allot on his plate, which he just chews up, only spitting back the plate.

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Hopefully I don’t say all of this wrong, but I will try to explain my new job and the eventual role I will be in. I found quickly that much to do with the commercial construction is about a person’s title, not necessarily one’s actual experience. But then you could have my boss, who comes with many, many years of experience, but still has a title. His experience shows through and is reflected in how he works. He offers perfection, and demands one put out their own perfection, he commands this without asking, which is a great way to learn for me personally, to be mentored in a fashion that is well above “industry standard”. He is a rare breed and he makes coming to work interesting. There are many hours of the day that I spend in what I will call ” observation, collection, and absorption”, because that is part of how I learn. What better way to learn, right or wrong, good or bad, people working at their specific trade. Again, luckily for me, I spent many years working for and with my dad, before he retired, as a residential concrete contractor. To my advantage, for a great deal of what is going on right now, I know what they are doing and the concept of what they are trying to accomplish with concrete. I remember the early days when I was part of the crew, the labor, which is how my own dad taught, which was hands on. One does not know the skill of a shovel in the right hands, one cannot respect a person which the shovel if you have never done what he had done. I spent many years with a shovel in my hands, setting forms, moving concrete, and helping turn a once vacant lot into a home for a family to live. Of course, later in life, after the Air Force, my role did change in the family business, where I had the opportunity to get my feet wet on the management and supervisory side of the concrete contractor business. Those lessons, not what I have learned in school, are lessons that serve me well now, because I am being refreshed in how psychology and the stroking of egos is just as important as raising hell when something is all fucked up. I have missed the construction industry since I’ve been out of it, its great to be given the opportunities to get back in the saddle again.

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In the end, for now, I’m just the new white guy on the job site. Learning and absorbing as much as I can comprehend to build myself a knowledge base which can only benefit me as time progresses, nobody wants to have dumb employees now do they. Plus, for the second time in my life now, here is a job which involves so much more than just being a mindless zombie laboror. Eventhough I never minded the mindless monkey work because it was work and it paid the bills on time. As time progresses over the next few months I will update everyone as to how my chosen path is going. In reality, the “job” chose me, as I’m very lucky that for probably the first time in a very long time, I was in the right place at the right time to accept this outstanding opportunity. Plus, bonus here people, financially it couldn’t have been more perfect timing. I owe a debt of gratitude to the man who set it in motion and even more to the man who has given me an opportunity not to just have a job, but to have an outfuckingstanding job. Can y’all tell I’m happy? I can tell, it feels great. And now I close with a great selfie, have a great day.

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Still Living The Life Of A Stripper

In the paragraphs below y’all will be reading information which I finally had time to transcribe from a recorded talk I had with a very good friend of mine and former employer. She discusses the life of a stripper, how to make money, what to do with that money, personal safety, and so much more. I encourage y’all to set some time aside to read the information she has provided as it is considerably lengthy. It also provides insight to her personal accomplishments and how she has become a successful businesswoman. There are very different professions for all of the people who want to work, hopefully this will show y’all a different view of the world a stripper lives in. This could very easily be done as three separate posts but I’m an all you can eat buffet kind of guy who likes to get my fill all in one sitting. So, with that being said, here we go.

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To begin with let me say that I started stripping at the age seventeen with a fake identification and a fast talking mouth. With that resting comfortably in the back of your head I also opened my own full nude strip club at the age of 24 in Houston and have since opened another location in Dallas. There are a great deal of misconceptions out there about strippers and that is something you will have to deal with if you enter the profession. I will say this, I truly enjoy what I do and I have never felt exploited because I’m a stripper. In fact I have always felt it was far more personally empowering than any other profession. But stripping is not for everyone. It requires a certain temperament. Don’t go and become a stripper because you feel you “have” to. If you hate what you do it will show and you will make very little money as a stripper. The minute you start dancing the clock is ticking. There are a limited number of years in which to make as much money as you can. Most dancers retire around 27. If you’re starting when you’re 18 that gives you nine years in which to make as much money as you can and then get out. Chances are you will never again be able to make as much per day as you do while stripping. Make the most of of the time.

There are two kinds of strippers, subsistence and capital strippers. A subsistence stripper just works enough to get by. Maybe a few days a week, saves little and is always in a financial crisis. I see these girls panicking to get enough dances to pay rent the next day but by the next week they are back to partying, doing drugs, buying expensive clothes and generally pissing away every dime they earn. Their plans for the future are vague at best and even though they claim to realize they can’t dance forever they seldom save and invest their money or invest in an education. These girls get out of the business no better then they started and spend the rest of their lives getting their ass pinched in menial, low paying jobs. A capital stripper dances as an investment. In my opinion this is the only reason to strip. Stripping is just too hard a way to earn a living to do it for just enough to “get by”. You can get by on a McDonalds salary. If you are going to have guys staring at your naked ass all evening you should at least be securing a decent future for yourself, not just tomorrow’s groceries and rent. There are many excuses for not saving your money but in my experience few of them are valid. Single mother, health problems whatever, you can still afford to save. If you work hard you can make a great deal of money stripping.

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When you see that money in your hand it just doesn’t seem real, and when you keep seeing it night after night it seems like the supply will be endless. It’s really not, you need to put away the largest portion you can. Not just 10% or so but 40% or 60%. It is possible to do that and still live a very comfortable life. Strippers tend to live beyond their means and end up with nothing but memories of that nice sports car or that fancy apartment. If you can just keep it under control for a few years you can have that stuff for the rest of your life, long after you’re done stripping. Live within your means; base your spending around not what you make stripping but what you would make at a good entry-level job. Get a good, reliable car but you don’t need that giant SUV or fast sports car. Make sure your lease or car loan doesn’t rely on a strippers level of income to pay it. Same goes for the rent or mortgage. It’s very easy to fall on heels and break an ankle or tear up your knee, it happens all the time. You could be out of work for weeks or even months. You don’t want to be buried under a mountain of bills. I suggest buying at least basic health insurance but if you don’t you will need at least enough savings to pay for emergencies.

So what to do with the money you save? Well, set enough aside to pay for all of your expenses like food, housing, tuition, utilities, car, whatever for 4 months. This is your emergency fund, put it in your saving account and don’t spend it. The rest you should invest. I have a few well chosen mutual funds that I have been very happy with. As a stripper you’re looking to invest for the long term, at least 5 years and probably 10. Mutual funds are low maintenance and are well suited for this purpose. I strongly advise against investing in individual stocks. Despite all tales of buying low and selling high at the end of the year very few people are able to make money off buying and selling individual stocks. Stick with mutual funds, they are safer and more reliable (at least for the novice investor).

The best possible investment you can make is an education. With a nice big nest egg and a good degree you can do just about anything you want when you retire from stripping. Without an education or any job skills that money will eventually be gone. With an education you can make the most of your savings, use it as capital for your own business or invest it for a steady source of income. Too many strippers talk about how they’re planning on going back to school or they’re just taking a semester off. This is bullshit, if you want an education you need to go to school and work hard. If you’re not going to school then you’re pissing away your own future.

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At most clubs you will walk around and ask the customers if they’d like a private dance (or lap dance depending on the club). Some clubs just have stage dancing. Often there is a private area that you can go for a dance. Be careful, though, the dim lights and the privacy tend to make the guys a little frisky. Not in a bad or scary way just in a way that may need to be corrected. The most important thing to do when you’re dancing is to smile and make eye contact. Nothing turns a guy off faster then a stripper strolling bored around the stage while staring vacantly off into space. Try to make each guy you’re dancing for think he’s the only guy you’re dancing for. This is how the pros make the big bucks. At many clubs a significant part of your nightly earnings comes from private dances. Most of the time the customer will pay for you to sit and talk with them as well. Guys vary a lot but it’s always important to be attentive. Nobody likes to feel like they’re being ignored. Most guys are pretty nice and easy to talk to. Provided you’re a good listener and act interested, it’s no problem. Then you get the guys who aren’t trying to be obnoxious, they just don’t have the best social skills. They will sit and alternate between nagging you to go out with them and lying about how much money they have, how many places they’ve traveled, how important they are in their company, etc. Simpering and looks of wide-eyed wonder come in handy at this point. Some guys are an absolute pleasure to sit with, they buy plenty of dances, they visit on a regular basis, and best of all they’re lots of fun to talk too. It’s guys like this who really make it all worth while.

When dancing it’s important to stay motivated, at most clubs you are an independent contractor. You won’t get fired if you don’t work hard and no one will say anything if you decide to hang out at the bar and talk all night talking to the bartender. You need to treat being a stripper like a job and not a social experience. Decide on what time and how long you will have dinner for, the rest of the time work the floor as hard as you can. Make sure you always get at least 8 hours of sleep so you’re not tired. You’ll look and feel better. Set a clear goal, try to get 4 dances and hour, as you get better set higher goals for yourself. Never assume a passive approach and wait for them to call you over, stay moving and keep working. If it’s hard and you just can’t get motivated make a game of it, make bets with other girls on who can get the most dances. Promise yourself ice cream if you reach a certain goal, whatever you have to do to stay motivated and keep earning that money.

Learning how to properly break the ice and get invited to sit with a customer takes time. Most girls tend to just walk around to every guy in the room and ask “Wanna dance?” and then when he says no walk off. This is the exact wrong approach. Every guy in that room has enough money for at least one dance and you just have to find the right words to get them to buy one or more. “Wanna dance?” can work in a very crowded room or if a guy is already interested but it will do absolutely nothing to convince a guy who was uninterested to change his mind. It’s too easy to say no to and that is usually what happens. To start with, choose your targets, who is looking at you the most when you are on stage or dancing for other customers? Talk to the bartender (always be friends and take to the bartender) and the floor hosts about who has an open tab or has been spending a lot of money. If a bartender or floor hosts gives you a good lead and you make money ALWAYS tip them at the end of the night and that way next time they will go to you first when they see a big spender. When you approach your prospective customer try and say anything but “Wanna dance?”: would you like some company?, would you like if I joined you? If the room is slow and he seems reluctant put a very slight push on. If he says he’s not interested ask if he would mind if you just sat down and rested your feet for a minute- you’re “not used to these heels”. Few men are going to say no to that, and the “not used to these heels” implies that you’re a new dancer and invites conversation. If 10 minutes go by and he still doesn’t buy a dance don’t ask- just say “I’m sorry, I’ve got to get back to work- it’s been nice talking to you okay?” This implies that you didn’t consider sitting with him work, a slight bit of flattery that will get you a dance later. Think of this approach as “seeding” in that you may not get the dance then, but chances are you will later. After a half-hour of “wanna dance” from the other girls he’s going to wish for your company again and probably be willing to pay for it. Or even the next time he comes in your’s will be the familiar face. With this approach it’s important you not spend too long with them, always keep them hungry. Unless they’re paying don’t sit with them longer then 10 to 15 minutes and only that long if the room is very slow. If they’re used to getting it for free it’s going to be hard to get them to pay for it. You’re friendly and available and they just have to be willing to pay for it.

Never ever, sit on your own or hang out at the bar talking to other strippers. At any given time you should be either sitting with a customer, moving to another customer or on stage getting naked. If you’re just standing around they will assume you’re not busy and it will be very hard to get a customer to pay for your time because “you’re not doing anything anyway”. Look busy, if they think other men want you then they will want you. It’s important you have respect for the money they give you, so much money changes hands that girls often forget what it represents. Let’s say your customer earns $40,000 a year after taxes- probably about average income for a stripclub patron in Houston. That works out to around $20 an hour. If a customer sits with you and you make $100, that’s 5 hours of his time. If a handyman came to your house and fixed thing for 5 hours you’d say “thank you” right? Always thank the customer and make sure he knows you mean it. Even if $100 doesn’t seem like a lot of money to you to the average customer it is.

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One last thing, don’t screw with guys’ heads. It’s not cool, you can make money without doing it. I see lots of girls who string guys along implying they’ll go out with them if they just visit a few more times or laying on sob stories about their sick children or parents. Don’t do it, there is never any reason for you to lie as a stripper. After a few repetitions it gets very fake and you just come off as a greedy gold digging bitch. If you want customers to treat you with respect you should treat them with respect. If they are disrespectful just walk away, there is no reason for you to sink to their level. There are more then enough good men who will to pay you to sit, talk and laugh with them and when you dance they will treat you like a goddess. As customers they deserve your courtesy and if they don’t respect you in return they don’t deserve to have you spend time with them. Safety is a critical issue for strippers. Many menaked not understand that what we sell is a fantasy or feel that our employment makes us fair game for unwanted attentions. The six dumbest words that can leave a woman’s mouth are “I can take care of myself”. No you can’t, and get any notion that you’re some kind of tough girl out of your head. Men are bigger, stronger and meaner. They’ve been beating and raping women for thousands of years now and have pretty much got it down pat. Your little kick boxing lessons at the health club will not help you. If a grown man hits you full force you will be knocked unconscious and very likely break the bones in your face. Do not ever make safety decisions based on your opinion of your ability to defend yourself.

I personally think that carrying weapons or taking martial art, self-defense classes etc. are a bad idea for most women. The most effective way to survive is to be scared; anything that makes you brave makes you more likely to walk into a dangerous situation. If you have a gun in your purse you might be more likely to take that shortcut home, or take a ride with a man you don’t know very well or any number of risky things. If you’re scared you’re careful, if you’re careful you don’t get into trouble. If you are a feature stripper, have a very public presence (website or modeling), or have had problems with a stalker then a gun may be something you want to consider purchasing. You need to be trained in it’s use and practice with it at a firing range at least once every few months. Don’t bother carrying one unless you comfortable with the idea of killing someone. That’s what guns are for, you’re not going to be shooting knives out of anyone’s hands, you’re going to be trying to make a hole in the center of their torso. If you have small hands like me you can have a gunsmith machine a trigger guard that will comfortable fit your finger but too small for the finger of a grown man. But I would like to emphasize, most women are far better off not carrying a gun. Only if you are in a position of constantly being exposed to unavoidable danger is it an option.

One never wishes to blame the victim but every single girl I know without exception who has ever gotten into trouble was doing something most women would consider risky or just plain stupid. Don’t take chances- the stakes are too high. As a stripper, leaving the club after work is the time when you are most vulnerable. I have only gotten scared twice at work. On both occasions it was when an overly enthusiastic customer decided to wait for me outside the club after closing. On both occasions the men were just confused about the nature of what a stripper does and were quickly dealt with by security. This being said, transportation is a critical safety issue that you really have to think about. Going to work is not a problem because customers can’t really see where you are coming from. Leaving is when you have to be most vigilant. Public transportation is out of the question, it’s too easy to be followed and is rarely safe at the hours you’ll be riding. I’d suggest sharing a cab with one of the other girls. If you decide to drive, make very sure that your car is reliable, last thing you need is a break down on an empty road at 3AM. A cell phone is a good thing to have. Make sure when you register you car you do it to another address (friend, parent, etc.). That way if some creep takes down your license plate number he can’t find out your home address. For obvious reasons never give any personal info to anyone who knows you as a stripper, including other strippers. There are strippers and bouncers who will give the information to customers for money or as a favor. There is no reason anyone needs to know anything but your stage name. Don’t tell them where you live or what school you go to no matter how trust worthy they seem. Once that information is out it’s very difficult to put back in the box.

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We are not all success stories. I had my eye on the prize the first time someone slipped money in my garter. I learned how to capitalize on a man’s willingness to part with his hard earned money to see me naked. Done properly, a stripper can sock away grand amounts of cash just by dancing naked, and it can end as a very fruitful career choice. Not every girl is a naturally born stripper, you have to be willing to work your ass off, and then the world holds endless possibilities for you.

Believe It Or Not, I Start Work Tomorrow

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Doesn’t everyone wish they had cheerleaders to help them celebrate the small victories in life? I know I do, but settle for the ones in my head. Anyway, if y’all read a few posts back about my dumb luck then this news will not come as a surprise to y’all. If not, go review and come back. When I last spoke of the job, well I was only considering it, as if tomorrow morning I start my new job. Yes, I’m happy, and yes the money will come in handy.

What does that mean for my blogs? I don’t know yet. I will assume I won’t have the time during the day to jack around here so that leaves the evenings and weekends if I did the math correctly. In reality, I know my next few months are going to be packed with studying so I can get my CDL reinstated in a timely manner. Not to worry, I have no intention of shutting either blog down or letting them get covered in dust. All I can do is hope that I will have the time and energy to do what I like doing here. No worries please, I’m not abandoning y’all, just getting back on track in life, that’s all.

So, anyway, I just wanted to warn y’all the inevitable day has arrived, don’t be skeered because I’m not, I’m actually pretty damn excited about it. Y’all know I will continue to find things to write about or otherwise post, its what I do.