So, not to come off sounding all inspirational and shit, that’s not what I want this to be. I actually don’t have an end-game here, other than providing entertainment through the haunting memories that are my child-hood.
I mean, who am I to inspire anyone? I’m just some dude who was wandering around aimlessly until I got my bearing. Due north! Or was it west? Shit.
Back to what I was saying. I was stumbling through life sorta the the same way a drunk, blind and half-lame grizzly bear might stumble through a campsite when I decided that some shit had to change. Seriously. I started out promising, all things considered. I began working when I was fairly young, somehow managed to keep my ass out of trouble and accidentally acquired an education along the way.
So while other kids my age were out doing juvenile-delinquent shit with their juvenile-delinquent friends, I was working. Seriously. I started earning money before I even reached third grade, and have been working ever since. I wish I would have listened to some of the older, more wise people telling me “don’t grow up too fast,” and I was all “I’m almost nine! I think I know what’s good for me!” Well psyche motherfucker! I really didn’t know shit!
I got my first taste of what some call “responsibility” when I was around 8 years old. No, that is not a typo, I did not absent-mindedly forget to place a “1” in front of the “8.” Just 8 tiny years old.
I had not even experienced a decade’s worth of life on this planet when I begged my mother for permission to start earning my own money. She was reluctant, but I was persistent. She finally caved and I started working that summer. I was a real-life paper boy!
It was the summer of ’88. DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince were enjoying their very first hit single “Parents just Don’t Understand” and I was fresh out of 2nd grade and ready for a summer filled with fun and excitement and …WORK!
SHIT! I forgot all about my campaign trail-like promises that I made to our local newspaper waaaaay back during spring break! So had my parents as I’m sure they were experiencing their summer through a haze “Mary Jane.”
Really a bit of a shock when you get dragged out of bed at 3 o’clock in the morning by your mother. This chick stuffed me into a Camel Cigarettes t-shirt that was about three sizes to big, shorts and sneakers. She then hurried me out the front door like an un-welcome Mormon Missionary who virtually forced their way inside and ignored all social cues indicating “No thank you, you people are crazy.”
I was roughly crammed inside a yellow Chevy cargo van with no windows… wait, wasn’t there one of those “after school specials” about kids climbing into windowless cargo vans with strangers? And this was 19-freaking-88! I didn’t have a smart phone with GPS tracking. I didn’t have a way to check-in anywhere or with anyone… I was alone in a van with two people I did not know and was still very much groggy when we pulled up at a whorehouse. Wait…damn auto-correct! Sorry. Warehouse.
So I would hastily fold, stack and stuff newspapers into four or five of these messenger-type shoulder bags. Then, after being dropped back off at my apartment complex, I would fling papers at doors until all my bags were empty. Usually about three hours worth of walking.
Obviously this didn’t last long. I mean, who the hell can depend on some 8 year-old to be punctual? I did however, arrive at that “a-ha” moment that I spoke of earlier. I learned very quickly that if I want something, I have no one to depend on but me. I have to make shit happen. Did this always soak in? Nope. Have I had to resort asking for help or advice occasionally? More than I like to admit.