I was sitting in my office writing a thank you note to the last company that interviewed me. My freelance business isn’t picking up and an agency called me for an interview for a copywriting position. I’ve worked for myself, I’ve worked for other people, and I’ve worked for companies large and small. Each has its pros and cons—but if you can arrange it so that you can actually earn a living, working for yourself is definitely the way to go.
If not, I recommend avoiding those jobs at companies with an asshat leadership team. Someday I’d like to write an instructional manual on how to do that. Unfortunately, about half the companies I’ve worked for either had such a management team or were acquired by corporations in that category—so I’m not sure I’m an expert in this particular area. The agency I was applying to was different. They seemed to know what they were doing and they seemed to be really good people. If I have to work for a company I’d just as soon work for one with people like those I met during my interview.
As I worked the keyboard, I attempted to come off as gracious, charming, witty, talented, and—most of all—like I had the intellect to qualify for this specific position. I happened to look up just as my wife, Heidi, wandered into my office. I greeted her with a casual “Hey.” “Hey.” she echoed. “What’s up?” I continued. In any relationship it’s easy to fall into a communication style that is less than articulate, and I suppose that’s where we’ve landed for now.
Heidi continued: “I just thought we could visit for a minute before I go to Adeliene’s.”
“What’s happening there?”
“Cindy (her sister) and I are taking grandma to our weekly Color Mastermind meeting.”
“I told you silly. We meet every week.”
“What is it and why do you meet?”
“To move the teaching of the colors forward. Would you like to join us?”
OK; let me fill you in. My wife and her sister subscribe to what I call a spiritual theory, known by many in her community as the colors. The idea is that there are exactly seven spiritual gifts, and each person is endowed with exactly one of these gifts from conception, or birth, or whenever you believe human life begins. Each gift has a moniker in the form of a color, which is used as shorthand for the gift because it’s kind of complicated to explain. I started to describe the theory further in this blog entry, but the more I wrote the less sense it made to me—so I gave up. I don’t dismiss it out of hand, but let’s just say I’m not into it in the way Heidi and Cindy are. I mean, I wanted to initially dismiss it, but some of what she related did make sense to me. After careful consideration of my gift and Heidi’s gift, I went with it and moved onto other things; things like drinking beer and rifle shooting (not necessarily in that order.)
The problem from my point of view is that I find focusing on things like the colors for any length time doesn’t move the important things in life forward. Having a job, earning a living, and maintaining your weapons and whiskey cache all take a back seat to such ethereal notions if you think about them too much. Look; I believe in God, leaving the world better than you found it, and helping your fellow man when you can. But if you spend your entire time looking up at the sky you’re going to miss what’s right in front of you.
In the words of Ferris Bueller: “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” So while Heidi’s focus on the colors has spiritual merit in my opinion, I simply have no interest in sitting in a room full of new-agers talking about them.
Trying to be supportive, though, I offered “Hmmm; I think I’ll stay home and work on my blog. What time will you be home?”
“The meeting ends at 8:30; so 9:15 or so. My tire is low; can you fill it for me before I head out?” “Sure.” I replied.
Now I know how these things go. 8:30 means the meeting will actually end at 8:45. Then there will be wine or herb tea, chocolate, and talking about the meeting, trying to understand everything about what was covered in the meeting, and what the content of the meeting actually means to everyone in attendance. And, ultimately, what that means is that they will all be home around 10:00 and the wine and chocolate will have been the only nutrition the three of them consume, which equates to massive hunger. So, to the point, after filling Heidi’s tire, I headed over to Pappa Murphy’s take-and-bake to pick up pizza and then returned home to spend the evening with Johnny Cash, Johnny Walker, and my dog Gretl, or as I like to call them, the Trifecta.
After my second round of whiskey and beer, I began to ponder the new-age approach to life on which my wife and her sister have embarked for most of their lives. Between the two of them, they’ve tried every religion known to man over the course of their collective spiritual journey. I think it’s because they were never taken to church as children. I believe this dearth of any sort of religious exposure has left them hungry for some sort of ultimate spiritual climax that I’m pretty sure doesn’t exist.
I, on the other hand, was raised Southern Baptist and was forced to attend church three or four times every week. Criminy! Today, I can’t attend church or anything like it; I’m totally churched out. I still have faith, but can’t my dog and I just have a conversation with the Almighty at my bar? Seriously.
My thoughts were interrupted by a phone call from Heidi: “We’re 15 minutes out.” “OK.” I replied. “Pizza will be ready when you get here.”
I slipped the pie into the pre-heated oven, poured another round and returned to my bar just as J.R. Cash began Folsom Prison Blues. I smiled as I listened to the familiar melody and allowed my mind to drift into my nothing box, knowing that the air would soon be filled with voices an octave or two higher than my own. For those of you not familiar with Mark Gungor’s concept of boxes, consider this your homework assignment: click either of the last two links. Basically, I turned my mind off.
Fast forward: the timer alerted me to the now finished pizza and the aroma wafting from the oven confirmed the timer’s notification. I then walked over, took out the pizza, and cut it into eighths just as my other housemates crossed the front door threshold.
I retrieved four plates, greeted everyone, and returned to my place at the bar. Predictably, they were ravenous. I sat silent for the next 20 minutes as all manner of new-age ideas and color theory filled the air, which sounded a lot to me like the teacher on a Charlie Brown Christmas special.
After I finished my round of drinks, I poured a glass of wine and helped myself to two slices of pizza. As I retook my seat, Heidi and Cindy simultaneously stood up and began walking to Cindy’s office, better known as the healing room.
“Where are you going?” I inquired.
“To the healing room.” replied Heidi.
“Why are you going there?” I asked.
“We have to apply our Michael oils.”
“The oils Archangel Michael prescribed.”
Considerably vexed I continued “Why are you doing that?”
Heidi and Cindy giggled as they left the kitchen. I began eating just as the Neil Diamond CD kicked in: Beautiful Noise. Shrugging my shoulders I washed the awesome yummy goodness down with the cheap Cabernet.
A few minutes later the two of them returned reeking of hippie perfume. Cindy cut a piece of pizza in half and put the smaller slice in the microwave. Intensely curious I opened my mouth and repeated what I thought was an obvious question: “Why did you do that?”
Cindy laughed. Heidi smiled and cheerfully replied “Michael said we should do it to heal the world!” Perplexed, I simply finished the last of my pizza and wine and then poured another glass of scotch.
Healing the world. Hmmm. I’m not sure what that means and frankly I’m much more interested in saving the world than healing it, but to paraphrase Arnold Schwarzenegger in End of Days, if it comes down to your hippie oils or my Glock, I’ll take my Glock.