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Friday, March 31, 2017

1,391 Days

Thursday, March 30, 2017

1,392 Days

True Story© Who Can I Trust?

Do you have a Work BFF?
You know that person at work who, while they may not be your literal best friend, are the one you are most likely to shoot the shit with and shares your disdain for most other people in the office.  You might not even kick it with this person outside of the 8-5, but for that time in the office they are your buddy.

I don’t currently have one of these.  I am in a group of people in a small department that talk too damn much for me to want to establish this kind of communication with.  What I do have is a wildly entertaining dance of observing who talks to whom and assessing how I can use that to my amusement every chance I get.
I guess that makes me my own Work BFF.

When I first came to my current department, two people already knew me and one knew of me (one more person has been added since, with no turnover).  Knowing what I knew of the two who already knew me, I knew that it’d be in my best interest to say nothing more than necessary to not be branded some kind of recluse (even though I kinda am).  That is, unless I wanted the shit to be spread all over the company and various other places.  As time went on, I realized how petty and fucked up the whole situation was, people talking about people – but ALWAYS to the same people – behind their backs, using callouts/sick days as a punitive measure against everyone in the department.  Hell, you name it, it was all things that remind us why some women just can’t be expected to get along in small spaces for long.
[Note: I’m the only man in this department]

As ever, the group decides that since I will be around that they would involve me in their catty shit and basically extract what they can get out of me to either wantonly discuss among themselves later to trash my name or for God-knows-what otherwise.  As I watch people to make my decisions on how to proceed with them, especially in a new situation, my mind was already made “man, I ain’t tellin’ these broads shit I don't want repeated!” before they ever came my direction.
The issue was that it would be unavoidable to say NOTHING without at some point putting my fingers in my ears and running down the hall screaming “LALALALALALALALALALALALA!!!” and that was not feasible because there were no halls on the 6th floor, only an elevator and front/back staircases, so I would have to devise a plan to seed the conversation with something incredibly (or insane, or both) to work this in my own favor.

So this one day, the lead gossip and information collector corners me into conversation about my then-recent separation and pending divorce and how that worked with custody of our kid and my plans for kids in the future.  In my mind, my conscience is saying “dafuq? This shit is none of her got damn business!” but I decided that I would turn this into that test I needed for it to be…
I explained our split custody arrangement in as little detail as possible and that I had no designs on any more children – mainly due to me not wanting to be the stereotypical black man with kids all over the place – and that I would take precautions to avoid becoming that.  Made uncomfortable by the “rough black upbringing” talk, she skipped that point (and the "what if you meet someone who wants kids?" line of questioning that goes with it) and took the bait, right on to the “precautions” clause.

Her: “Precautions?”
Me: “Yes, precautions.”
Her: “Like what?”
Me: “Do I really need to get into detail?”
Her: “Well, you did mention it.”
Me: “Sure, I did but--…”
Her: “See, well now I am curious.”

Look, I knew what it was and I try to offer people an out when I know I am about to take them for a ride.

Me: “Nah, you’re being nosy.”
Her: “No, I just care about you, like a little brother or something like that.  Did you get like a vasectomy or something?”

See?  Lying ass.

Me: “Nope.”
Her: “Well what could be these ‘precautions’ then?”
Me: “Well…  Since you asked.  Wait, you sure you want to know?”
Her: “Stop playing and just spill it.”
Me: “Okay, so our insurance covers most things related to birth control and sexual health and other shit pretty well, right?  Same goes for vasectomies, but the fact of the matter is that it is still an EXPENSIVE procedure to have done.  I guess that is to sell up the finality of it overall.  Faced with mortgage and bills, continuing to care for a child and all of the other expenses in my life, I couldn’t swing it when I went to the urologist.”
Her: “So what did you do?”
Me: “I’m telling a story here.”
Her: “Sorry, jeeze.”
Me: “Anyway…  Unable to justify the cost of the procedure at the moment, I hit the internet looking for other options.  I read about this witch doctor down in the bayou who would basically do this ritual that would render me unable to cause pregnancy while still allowing me to maintain a stiffy as they occur.”
Her: “See, now you’re just shitting me!”
Me: “I am totally not!  Went to New Orleans back in September to meet with him.  It was crazy, he had this dude beating on a drum while three people danced around me with my legs up.  Once the drumming stopped, they stopped and all repeated this prayer over my bawlz in a language I couldn’t BEGIN to identify.  The room goes silent for 5 minutes and he looks at me and smiles, telling me they were done and that it would be $75.00”

Look… I knew the story was bullshit, any one of the two of you reading this knew that the story was total bullshit.  I have since learned that chicken little here regularly convinces herself that the sky is falling based off of a perfunctory Google search of the most mundane things so I can’t honestly say I am surprised at the effectiveness of my story here.

     And BOY did it work.
For the 3 years since, I have been asked slick little questions about voodoo and shaman magic and all kinds of random shit from SEVERAL people – including the remaining three in the department – who would have no reason to go there with me if they were not being blabbed to by someone too daft to realize they’ve been put on.

     What it did, though, was establish early on that I can’t trust a damned soul and that I need to adapt stories for individuals.  Yes, even when I tell three people the same thing, I need to vary it and mind who I told what to so I know who to yell at when it comes back for betraying confidence.
I eventually skipped the nonsensical storytelling as a defense mechanism and basically just stopped telling anyone anything.  If people are gonna talk, let them talk.  No need to feed them shit to talk about.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

1,399 Days

True Story© Knowing Your Worth

Sometimes I sit and I watch and listen to people.  Not to get anything out of it so much as just to have something to do with a little of my time.  Naturally, this requires that I go out in public and kinda sit in my own space with my good ears on as well.  As much as I people-watch, I mainly tend to mind my own business and jettison a situation from my head as soon as it has ended and that is largely for the better of what remains of the little mental health I have left.
But oh, this one day…

                I am in Wal Mart and this woman is giving her dude the BUSINESS!  NagNagNagNagNag, nothing he could do was right, nothing he could say was satisfactory and silence didn’t seem to be getting it either.  Each time I passed them it was something different and each time you could see the man becoming less and less of a human with EVERY time she addressed him, he just kind of clammed up and looked down the whole time.  Eventually, she just said “wait right here, I am going to the bathroom” and he stood there in one spot, looking defeated.
I was NOT having this shit…  I walked up.

Me: “my dude, I couldn’t help but notice you having some troubles with your wife--…”
Him: “Girlfriend.”

Me: “Sorry, girlfriend.  I just wanted to say, man…  I been there before.  You know how women are always on about knowing their worth and not putting up with no shit?  Think about it, man, don’t you owe it to yourself to know your worth and not be beaten down like this?”

Him: “Well, yeah.”

Me: “Ain’t no ‘well’ my dude, either it is or it isn’t.  Are you guilty of something that can be held over you in order to be shit on like this in front of all these people out here in public?”

Him: “No”

Me: “Good, and is there something OTHER that she has over you to have you under her thumb to turn a blind eye to obvious mistreatment?”

Him: “Nope.”

Me: “Well homie…  It is fight or flight time.  If I was you, I’d make a decision right now.  Know. Your. Worth, stand up and don’t be mistreated and if you find that you can be happy enough to stay, then stay.  If it isn’t something you can see your happiness in, then you know what it is homie.”

Him: “Thanks man…  No one has ever put it to me like that!”

Me: “Like I said, man…  I been there before and I can NOT stand to sit and see another man going down through it.  This was none of my business and surely you had no reason not to tell me to fuck off, but I appreciate you hearing me.”

Him: “Shit, I appreciate you man!”

I looked and she was coming back up the aisle behind him, he couldn’t see her and she was still a ways off.  He started the other direction, leaving the cart behind.  He looked at me with one last quick exchange.

Him: ”I didn’t catch your name, my man…”

Me: “Oh, it’s Moe...  Moe Phillips.  Peace my dude.”

Him: “Peace, I appreciate it.”

                And with that, he headed DIRECTLY out the door with her standing in the middle of the aisle demanding to know “where in the fuck you think you going?!!?” totally embarrassing the both of them right there in that store.  Well, I guess I should say she embarrassed herself, because he kept going right for the door, twirling his keys around his index finger.  In his knowing his worth becoming a fight or flight, he decided it was time to fly, all while she ranted and ripped down the back aisle of the store, calling his phone and cursing his voicemail, then calling her homegirls and loud talking THEM about this “stupid motherfucker just left me in Wal Mart.”
I thank my lucky stars that she didn’t notice me close enough to have been talking to him before walking toward us, lest I might have had to call security to defend me in there.

Moe Phillips…  The Supervillain.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

1,406 Days

True Story© Confessions

Sometimes, in these fits of pure boredom, I confess to shit that never actually happened. I mean FAR-FETCHED bullshit that is barely even possible. I do it for my own entertainment and to see how people will react. These are most fun to tell in mixed (racial, upbringing, people who do/don’t know me, etc…) company.
To see someone pull a mutual acquaintance to the side and have them ask about me means I have won the game. The fun part is dragging up things that DID happen and COMPLETELY making some shit up to lend an air of realism to it.

Scene 1. A few years ago, shooting the shit with a friend and some friends of said friends. We’re talking as a group about shit we used to do when we were MUCH younger.

Friend: "anything else?"

Me: "well yeah, there was this one time, sophomore year in college... You and I were going to play ball on campus, I swung by your house to drive but you'd already left"

Friend: "yeah I remember that, you were late as fuck that day--... I thought you said you had a nooner with some chick at the time and got caught up longer than expected?"

Me: "I did… See, your moms was home when I stopped by. Said she didn't know where you went and invited me in to wait for you, so I went in--…"
Friend: "Dude! You already KNEW where I was going--... WAIT, WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU TRYING TO TELL ME?!!?"

Me: "first of all, check your tone and watch your language when addressing your stepfather"

Under a normal set of circumstances, this man, I should have been made to knuckle up and defend myself at the end of this exchange. But the look of HORROR on the face of the uninitiated witnesses as my friend just started laughing made it all worth it.

Scene 2. Around 2009-2010ish, I was fully aware that my old department WOULD kill me if I stayed there and applying for every transfer and/or job I thought I could get. To know me is to know that I would apply for several that I knew I couldn’t get either. What one might NOT realize is that third option, wherein I have a burner email address (the kind you would use for like sure-to-spam subscriptions, dating sites and the like) and completely fabricated resume. The profile is GLOWING, any company worth their salt would want to hire this guy Moe Phillips!
… if he really existed, that is.

One particular time, I--… err, Moe applied for a little call center position that he was more educated and qualified for than any three of the supervisors who would interview him for it. One glaring issue on Moe’s resume was with a job he’d had in 2000-2003, which ended and his work history does not pick back up for TEN months. Naturally, the interviewer would ask about this and I--… SHIT, Moe would use this opportunity to confess…

“so you see from my CV, I majored in English and specialized in creative writing. That goes to say that I am a bit of a stickler about grammar and spelling. Well I had this supervisor who would spell things RIGHT, but always use the wrong homophone. Her biggest problem child was spelling ‘come’ as ‘c-u-m’ and you can imagine this being irksome, especially in a professional environment.”

Man, the discomfort on this lady’s face… I wasn’t done though.

“Well this one day I was having a rough go at it and EVERYTHING was kind of annoying, right? I’m at my desk and I am working, I get an email that says ‘Moe, can you cum in here real quick?’ and decided that I would show her the error in her way by LITERALLY getting up and cumming in her office. So I didn’t open the email beyond the preview for a couple of minutes, scrolled through a couple of pictures on my phone to get the juices flowing and went in her office to do as she requested and started to--...”

Needless to say, the interviewer turned BRIGHT purple before unceremoniously excusing herself from the interview and came back with two large men to fast track me through the “don’t call us, we’ll call you” line. I--… FUCK, Moe! could have sworn he heard laughter from an office while leaving the building.

By now, y’all get it. Anyone with access to my FB feed knows my tales of murdering hookers in carrying them around in the trunk. I could sit and do this like all day, and I would LOVE to do it, but the TL;DR is a real thing and the fun of it would be spoiled on short attention spans.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

1,413 Days

True Story© On the Public Speaking Circuit

                When I came home from jail and following all of the legal wrangling following my last run-in stemming from the D.A.R.E. program, I found myself without job and made ends meet with day labor, odd jobs and handyman shit.  The military was still doing me filthy after my time in Vietnam, so I got little help on that front.
Eventually, I parlayed my experience with what was THOUGHT to be addiction (but was really dealing) to street drugs and the violent rage that had landed me in a bad place as a result of it into some speaking engagements.  Basically, some non-profits got wind of me and my situations and wanted to talk to me about them.  After I described to them what I had been through and what it had brought me to, their line of questioning turned more to what I had learned from it all and they decided that they may be able to sustain me by letting me tell my stories.

                With them handling the scheduling of their events, transportation and a per diem wherever I was dispatched to speak, I was on the road and telling the story about how the DARE program influenced me to sell dope and landed me in rehab despite NEVER having used in my life.
In other speeches, I revisited how I carried the anger of the stint in rehab in 8th grade with me deep into adulthood and wound up assaulting an actor from a DARE short film thinking he was a real drug dealer and how that landed me in jail.
I explained how I could have made better decisions with what I had chosen to be influenced by and how I was working now to write and apply those lessons as best I could with what I had brought myself to.  I couldn’t frame myself as a victim, as it was my decisions that brought me to it, so my message was more about making better decisions and better thinking through of these situations.

                Everything went smoothly, I gave basically the same line of speech about twice a week for a few months and word got out about the group that was working me and we were booked for children’s and young adult’s groups.
All good, right?

I don’t know if y’all realize this, but little kids are ASSHOLES!!!
A major difference between kids of 1988-89ish and kids of 2014-15ish is the nature of the media that we took in versus what they did.  One could surmise they were desensitized to things we were told we should be afraid of.  I mean, why should they fear a debilitating heroin addiction when every rapper on the radio is making $8million a year rapping about having JUST that?  So while I am talking to them about making better decisions than I had made in order to succeed, their idols are making WORSE decisions and doing better than they can see me doing.  That said, they were completely uninterested in anything I might have had to say to them and as with any group of kids, the instant their interest was lost, so was their attention and respect for the speaker.

For a couple of appearances, I didn’t let this shake me off of message but at about the fourth school appearance I did, I just couldn’t keep it together.  As luck would have it, the local news was shadowing me this particular day, videotaping for their YouTube channel and FaceBook feeds and hoping to get me profiled in the newspaper the next morning.
Y’all can imagine that this would get kind of interesting REALLY quick.  A full third of the kids are snickering at every description of my situations, one third is engaging in animated conversation with one another and the last third are fucking with their cellphones.  After about 10-15 minutes, I become fed up and JUST as three news cameras change focus as I switch up how I was sitting, it happened.

“Y’all know what?  Sometimes I wish I HAD dropped out of school and sold dope.  Y’all ever watch Breaking Bad?  The only thing Walter really did wrong was letting greed turn him bad.  I figure now, knowing that fact, that if I had the opportunity to turn over generational wealth for my family and future family and operate largely undetected then maybe I should.  I would get in, turn over several million as quickly and quietly as possible and move on into some legal endeavors.”

EVERY adult in the auditorium gasped loudly.  Three parents sought out their children and beelined for the door.
I wasn’t done.

“The world at large doesn’t care much about you.  Your dreams, concerns, worries…  ALL of that – that’s YOU!  Play it as close to the vest as possible.  You really can’t trust anyone with your deepest secrets for anything more than they can benefit themselves from it.  Look at the DARE program that got me tied all up in this.  They didn’t and don’t care about keeping kids off of drugs.  Heck, y’all know that the 13th amendment basically keeps slavery legal as long as it is a prisoner they’re working, right?  They need SOMEONE on drugs so they can arrest someone for selling them to keep getting that good cheap labor that prison provides.  The DARE program was a slick little lie to get impressionable minds to start snitching and feed the pipeline.”

Apparently, someone had had enough, because my mic went off and I was ushered off of the stage.  As I was being escorted from the building, I heard some lady apologizing for the speaking going off-script and that they would be ending dealings with him (that would be me) as soon as possible.
In the car on the way back to my own car there was mostly silence, only broken when the driver’s phone rang.  His conversation was mostly “mmhmm,” “yes” and “okay” but nothing in the way of actual conversation to try to decipher.  When we got back to my car, I put my hand on the door handle and asked “so I guess I will hear from the director in the morning?” and he just kind of half-nodded at me in response as if he really didn’t have the information I was seeking.

Needless to say, I would never hear from them again and this would be the end of me as a public speaker.  Sucks, because I never got the chance to get deeper into some things I needed to get out into the world.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

1,420 Days

True Story© I Nearly Ended the Feral Pig Apocalypse Once

I HATE talking on the phone.

If you ever so feel inclined to call me on the phone, contain everything you need to say into 180 or fewer seconds, and try to make it include an arrangement to meet in person and have a conversation if one needs to be had.  Otherwise, text me.

                I really don’t answer my phone except for from a very few people, and even those people will try not to try and call me unless just necessary.
I knew the day the call came from a private number that I was setting myself up for some bullshit…

*Phone rings*
Me: “Hello?”
Caller: “Evans!”
Me: “Who is this?”
Agent: “You didn’t save the number last time?”
Me: “Private number, I don’t know your voice…  Identify yourself.”
Agent: “Master control calling, we have a big proje--…”
Me: “Wait, the same motherfuckers that dispatched me to Vietnam?”
Agent: “Can I please at least explain why it is that I’m--…”
Me: “The same assholes that sent agents to take me to Guantanamo?”
Agent: “Yes, we’ve apologized for that, have we not?”
Me: “My checking account does not yet reflect any such contrition.”
Agent: “…”
Me: “Look, y’all only call or drop in on me when you feel my life is going too good and needs to be ruined, what is it this time?”
Agent: “Feral hogs”
Me: “hahahaha!”
Agent: “What?”
Me: “I literally laugh every time I think of the feral hog problem.”
Agent: “I am afraid to ask why…”
Me: “Then don’t.  Why me, this time?”
Agent: “Because you have a special set of skills--…”
Me: “I’m an asshole?”
Agent: “Well, among other things, yeah.”
Me: “You wanna know why I laughed?”
Agent: “Shit…   why?”
Me: “Because y’all brought this shit on yourselves.”
Agent: “Huh?”
Me: “Pigs aren’t a native North American species.”
Agent: “…”
Me: “Another of those things those filthy Spanish brought with them to have a ‘little bit of home’ with them to the new land.”
Agent: “…”
Me: “And like Kudzu, the invasive exotic has been fucking the countryside at every chance since.”
Agent: “Are you done?”
Me: “No, I was just about to talk about how the British brought rabbits to Australia and how that is still a proble--…”
Agent: “Look, I am calling for some help here.”
Me: “Fuck you want me to do?”
Agent: “You tend to think your way into and out of messy situations.  6 million or more wild pigs in the United States is a messy problem alright.”
Me: “Not my problem, I’m a city boy and I don’t eat the kinds of meat that needs to be hunted.  Find another sucker.”
Agent: “But all the people you could help…”
Me: “Y’all got professionals for shit like this!”
Agent: “Yeah, but the red tape…  the waste and inactivity.  You’re a jerk, but you get right to shit and get it done.”
Me: “Fine, I make my rules and I answer to me.”
Agent: “Fine.”

                Now I had a task and had to come up with my own rules.  I convinced them that I should be supplied with taxpayer funding for big BIG guns, surveillance equipment and relaxation of all the normal rules of engagement when it came to hunting.  I found that the latter of those requests was no problem, as the rules are off when it comes to wild pigs.  Further, I had to have a team under my command that would collect the hogs as we killed them instead of leaving them to  be eaten by opportunistic predators or cannibalized post-mortem.
Called in a couple of friends of mine who DO hunt, we got to hang out at night with spotlights that they SWORE to sheriffs that they didn’t have before and
MAN, did we hunt some pigs!  All over the south, from Western NC all the way to Texas.  Nothing went to waste, as soon as one was killed, I DEMANDED they were field dressed, tested for disease and sent to local food pantries.
Food pantries?  Damn right.  I was not taking this on if I could not make it beneficial to those in need.  No-waste operation through and through.  All that free-range pork would not be left to rot in a landfill.  The ones too diseased for consumption would be incinerated and the foodworthy ones were processed for FREE food to those in need.  If a taxpayer-funded organization (think schools, etc…) wanted in on it, they paid fair market rate for it.  This made my operation revenue neutral, covering the costs of my materials, travel and to pay my people and I for our work.
                We became KNOWN around, as the dudes with the master plan to end the feral pig apocalypse with the simple Robin Hood theory of using it to feed the poor with it.  From city to city I stopped being the cleanup man, instead getting with the people of the area and teaching THEM best practices and leaving them to be able to get their own food.

Then it happened…

                Everywhere under my watch began building surpluses of this pork and all of a sudden the pork farmer’s industry noticed that poor people were getting FREE pork that was head and shoulders better than the sickly antibiotics-zombie shit that they themselves were trying to sell them and they wanted in.
In came the lobbyists for the industry.  They wanted me to work for them or be decommissioned, nothing in between.  I refused to work for them and could not afford to purchase a senator or three of my own, so I learned another lesson on the cynical hypocrisy of a government “for the people, by the people” as they quickly learned that an escaped pig soon becomes a wild pig when it eventually meets up and herds with OTHER wild pigs and breeds more wild pigs.  Refusing to be of any assistance to an industry, I let them hang themselves with their own rope.
And with the recent return of the worry of Feral Hog Apocalypses, they have too.

Fuck em, I am done with this government. 

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