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Love is telling them the truth, even if they don't want to hear it... [13 Apr 2011|09:34pm]
It's been a few months since I updated my journal with that long winded, colorfully worded, and very much private entry I put forth last time.  Honestly, I wish I could make that last entry open to the public, but I really can't do so without it inevitably being taken the wrong way and resulting in grudges being held from all sorts of different directions.  I was getting things off of my chest in that entry.  Things that had been festering inside my mind for a long time, and it felt really good to be able to put it into words.  Even if no one else will ever read it besides myself, it was still a great feeling just to be able to say what was on my mind without being censored, or worse yet, interrupted and second guessed without getting a full sentence out.  Obviously, this entry will be a little different, but only in the fact that I haven't had all I can take of the issue at hand this time.  In fact, with this, I will never have all I can take.  It's not something that's going to break my spirit, it's just something that I find myself frustrated with for reasons that should be easy to fix...

... work...

Since I wrote my last entry, things have been going really well.  I just got back from a nine day vacation with my wonderful girlfriend, Heidi.  We went to see WrestleMania XXVII live in Atlanta, and then to the mountains in North Georgia for a few days of the best relaxation I have ever experienced.  It wasn't the most extravagant vacation I've ever been on, but it was by far my favorite.  It was the only vacation I feel like I could've actually made permanent.  I was not ready to come home, I was not ready to be away from the seclusion of that cabin, and I was simply not ready to resume my everyday life.  Shockingly enough, however, I was ready to get back to work.  I have my issues in the work place, just like anyone else, but I do love my job.  For those who don't know, I've been a pawnbroker for going on six years now.  I've been working for the same people, in the same place, with the same schedule since August of 2005... and, really, I wouldn't change it.  The job itself is one of the most rewarding jobs a person could ask for.  Granted, I do get to see and deal with some of the scum of the Earth on a daily basis, but I also get to deal with people who are just down on their luck, and need a little help to get to their next paycheck.  Helping them out, and receiving nothing but their gratitude in return is one of my life's greatest joys.  I don't mean to say that I don't get paid fairly well for what I do, because that wouldn't be true, but we don't really get bonuses... or, there not on a schedule anyhow.  My boss gives me a couple or three bonuses every year, but it's never because of anything I did in particular, it's just because I do a good job in general and she's always been good to me in that respect.  In fact, she has been the best boss I've ever had when you get right down to it.  We have our arguments, and what-have-you, from time to time... but we care about one another, and we both know that.

The thing that's been eating at me lately stems from how much I care for both my boss, and for the place I work.  As much as I care about the person I work for, I also care about the business itself.  I care about how well we do, how well we could be doing, and I care about putting in as much as I possibly can in order to help the store in both respects.  Unfortunately, I feel like I get cut off at the legs way too much around there.  Not by the boss, but by one of my coworkers who has it stuck in his head that he's the head honcho.  This guy ("the manager" in title only) has been working at the pawn shop longer than I have, I'll grant him that, so if there is to be a "manager" it should be him due to him having been there longer than me.  He's been there less than one year longer than I have, but it still counts for something, and that's fine.  I don't need a title, and quite frankly, I'm not impressed by his.  There are a grand total of four people who work at the shop.  The owner, the owner's husband, the manager, and myself... so, obviously, there's no need for a manager in the first place.  Whatever.

What bugs me about this manager is how he makes use of his title.  In my experience, a manager is someone who knows his or her job well enough to set an example for the rest of the team.  In his experience, apparently, a manager is someone who has the right to collect a slightly larger paycheck without doing anything to call for it.  He sits in the back with the owner literally all day long, and will do anything in his power to stay back there.  He doesn't set any kind of example for me, nor has he ever set any sort of an example for any of the other employees who have come and gone since he's been around.  He lets me do all of the work, unless there is more than one person in line for me to wait on... at which point he will sigh extremely loudly, and waddle up front to do five minutes of hard labor typing at a computer.  He treats the customers like they are the scum of the Earth.  Now, if you've been reading this entire entry, you'll know that I referred to some of our customers as just that.  The difference between myself and management is that I refuse to treat them as such.  It can be (and has been) the absolute worst person I've ever come into contact with, but I still keep a smile on my face, and I still do whatever I can to keep their business.  Trash or not, they pay my bills, and I'm smart enough to realize that.  Plus, if I didn't realize that, we probably wouldn't have any customers at all.  Well, except for the well-to-do white people with gold.  He's quite nice to them, but with a few rare exceptions, that's really about it.  If you're white trash, or if you're a minority of any sort, you might as well just not bother coming through the door if he's going to wait on you.  All he's going to do is tell you to go to another pawn shop.  What he doesn't realize is that people will go to another pawn shop, and someone will eventually gain their business as result.  Well, either he doesn't realize it, or he just doesn't give a shit.  Actually, now that I think about it, that's probably more likely.  He doesn't give a shit about that business.  He's 63 years old, and a large percentage of those years were spent as a con-man.  Well, 100% have been spent that way, as he's still a Grade A Con Artist... but a large percentage of those years were spent conning as a profession.  One could argue that he's still doing it for a living, and I wouldn't disagree, but what he's doing now wouldn't land him in prison like it did when he was younger.

Don't get me wrong, he certainly works when I'm not around.  The boss did our job for so many years that she's pretty well burnt out on it, and just does her most of her work in the back, which she's entitled to do.  That means, if I'm not there to do it, then our manager will lower himself to do regular work.  Luckily for him, I'm only off on Saturdays.  Not only do we close two hours early, but most of our weekend customers only come in to buy things, rather than pawning... which means, in general, they're not generally as trashy as most of our middle-of-the-week customers.  Also, to his credit, when he does lower himself to doing "regular" work around the shop, he doesn't do a bad job.  Although, when most of your duties depend on your ability to con and kiss ass, it's not like you have to try very hard.

And, boy, believe me, can that man kiss some ass and con like no other.  He talks about everyone (everyone) at the shop like they're all idiots.  He trashes everyone's personality, he trashes everyone's ability to do their job, and he trashes the swiftness at which everyone does their job.  He verbally shits on everyone (everyone) who works there, as well as everyone who walks through the door.  Obviously, he's too much of a coward to say anything to the people he trashes.  When he's talking to me, he's ragging on the owner or her husband.  When he's talking to the owner/husband, he's ragging on me.  Then, when we're all around, he's our best friend.  Well, he pretends to be, anyhow.  That's how he makes his living.  Make those in charge think that he gives a fuck by coming in early, picking up their breakfast, reading their horoscopes, assisting them in doing crossword puzzles/word jumbles... literally anything he can do to keep getting paid while doing as little actual work as he possibly can.  It's sad, because the boss really likes him.  She thinks he cares about anything that she says or does, when really, all he does is talk about her (and the entire family) like a fool as soon as she's out of earshot.  She'd never believe me, so I've never bothered even hinting at the fact, but it's true... I see it every single day I'm there.

Meanwhile, I'm cursed with having to say whatever comes to mind.  I like talking to the people I work for, and I am genuinely interested in a lot of the things that go on in their lives... and vice-versa.  We have fun chatting and talking about the store whenever I'm actually allowed to go talk to her... which is only on Thursdays, when the manager isn't around.  I have been friends with her kids for a long time.  I know, and am friendly with pretty much all of her family.  Like I said, I genuinely care about them.  However, I'm not going to pretend like I think something is right when I don't.  Or that we should be doing such-and-such when I don't think we should.  Or that I care about this happening when I don't.  No, I'm honest.  I share my feelings, good or bad, and that's not something that wins me any points when there's another person up there who is willing to kiss ass and pretend to be a loyal subject all day.

Here's something else that bugs me.  I don't like them to pay for my way.  I like to go out and get my own lunch, and I like to buy my own things.  Now, when times have gotten rough, she has been there to support me financially... but it's only been a few times, and I have always done my best to pay her back.  This manager, on the other hand, gladly takes every single handout he can get..  The shop pays for his breakfast every morning, his lunch every day, his dinner on some nights, his new diet plan, all of his drinks, some of his groceries, some of his gas, and god knows what else.  It sounds far fetched, and if I didn't see the shit with my own two eyes every single day, I'd probably call myself a liar.  Sadly, that's not the case.  In return for being such a great friend to the owner's face, and stabbing her in the back the second she turns around, this guy has pretty much got his entire world bought and paid for.  It doesn't bother me because I want what he has, because I certainly don't.  It bothers me because that asshole is taking severe advantage of a generous person, and will continue to do so until he either dies or retires.  However, why retire if you get paid to sit on your fat ass all day anyway?

The funny thing is that this stuff doesn't really bother me.  If she's happy thinking this guy is all that and a box of chocolates, and if he's happy to rip her off every step of the way, that's fine.  What bothers me is that our business is suffering because of it.  It's getting to the point where he doesn't want to even be a pawn shop.  He's gone so far as to say, verbatim, "We'd just be a gold buying store if it was up to me."  Unfortunately, he's a step closer to getting his way every day of the week.  While I don't speak up about his being a total liar and a scam artist with regard to taking advantage of the owner herself, I do speak up when he tries to shortcut the pawn shop just so he won't have to get off of his lazy ass when something comes in.  It doesn't do any good most of the time, but I'll never stop calling it out when I see it.  Since I've been there, we've stopped taking all sorts of things.  Digital cameras under 12 megapixels, older video games/systems, guns, hand tools, power tools, air tools, car audio, car video, DVD players, stereos, surround sound systems, musical equipment, and we stopped cashing checks.  I could literally go on for an hour about the things that we've stopped taking just because this lazy con-artist as gotten into the boss' ear about how we shouldn't take this and that.  She trusts him, and being that she doesn't come up front that much any more, there is no one around to stop him except for me.  I try my hardest to take in anything and everything we can turn around to sell and make a little profit off of... or something we can loan money on to get that 25% interest once a month... I try to do a lot of things, but "management" is there at every turn to put his swollen foot down and say "We don't take 'em" from across the store.  The customer hears that, leaves, and never comes back.  It's a terrible business practice, and aside from the fact that he kisses ass all day long, I don't know how in the hell he gets away with it.

One of two things will happen in the near future, once the price of gold drops off and stays that way.  Either things will keep going exactly how they have been, and we'll go out of business once the gold money runs out... or the boss will realize how terribly this con-man has messed her business up with his shitty attitude and shittier work ethic, and we'll dig ourselves out of the whole.  Really, in spite of everything I've said, I'm not calling for this guy to be fired.  I'm not even calling for him to retire.  As long as we get back to the basics, and start being a pawn shop again, I really don't give a flying fuck what he does.  All I want is for the store to do well.  There is no reason it shouldn't.  People always need loans, and people are always looking for a deal.  Those two things will never change, and as result, a once-successful pawn shop should never go out of business.

I'm crossing my fingers, and praying every night that things will turn around for us.  Praying that the boss will see what's happening, and put the inmate who is running her asylum in check.  Until that day comes, "management" is going to continue to set the example that it's been setting for the past several years:  Fuck the customers.  Fuck their problems.  Fuck their belongings.  Fuck their feelings.  Fuck anything and everything that poses a threat to the comfort of my ass in this leather captain's chair it's been sitting in for the last nine hours.

We've got to change.  I know it's hard sometimes, especially when you've gotten comfortable, but we must make a change.  If we don't, the ship is going to sink.  It might not be today, and it might not be tomorrow... but it will sink if something isn't done, and sooner rather than later.  And guess what... once it happens, that con-man who pretends to be your best friend will be nowhere to be found.  The second that beneficial relationship stops being his lifeline, he'll simply move on to the next one, just as he did when he found you.  I love the store, and I love the entire family that I work for, but I'm not a liar, and I cannot pretend things are peachy when they so obviously are not.  We are all your employees.  All of us, even the ones who have titles.  Take the wheel back, please, and steer us back on course.  You did it before, and you can do it again.  Whoever doesn't like what you're doing can hit the fucking skids.

... I'll never be the guy who lies and cheats to make things easier, but I'll be right there by your side through the thick and thin of it, I can promise you that!
I said read my messages!| What?

A Changed Man [06 Jul 2008|01:08pm]
I've been wanting to write this entry for a while, but I haven't been able to find the words with which to do so. Honestly, I doubt I'll ever find the exact way to express the number of changes in my life over the last couple of years... but I'm going to try. I am a completely different man than I was not only two years ago, but two months ago. My outlook on life has changed. My outlook on people has changed. My outlook on God and religion has changed. Everything I ever knew about myself turned out to be completely wrong.

When I started this journal, the better part of a decade ago, I was a bitter young man. I was a junior at Lowndes High School, and I had just experienced my first brush with an unexpected tragedy... aside from the death of my father, Tim... but I was only 14 months old at the time. My longtime friend, Curtis Copeland, was involved in a car accident over the 2001 Thanksgiving Holiday. There were multiple people involved in the wreck, but Curtis was the only one who lost his life that day in Atlanta. The last words I ever spoke to him were, "Atlanta, eh? Well, don't get yourself killed up there." Something along those lines, anyway. Had I known I would never see him alive again, I probably would've chosen my words a bit more carefully.

Curtis wasn't my best friend, by any stretch of the imagination. However, I had known him for about five years, at the time of his death. For an 18 year old kid, that's a pretty long time... and his passing really hit me hard. His father had been murdered (by his own brother, no less) over a religious argument when we were in 8th grade. It must've rocked his world, and I remember that being the first thing I thought about when I heard that Curtis had died over the holidays. I never met her, but Curtis' mother must have been an incredibly strong woman to have endured all the pain she was subjected to in that five year period. Curtis and his father were both in a better place, but his poor mother was left devastated. Fortunately, there was a younger brother, Chris. I'm sure she found the strength to carry on through that fact, but it still must have been incredibly hard.

Since then, I have seen more than enough death and tragedy for one lifetime. My grandparents faded away, one by one, with Clara Belle outlasting the rest, much to her chagrin. Countless childhood wrestling heroes died from various drug-related adventures. I let my girlfriend, Jenna, go to her mother's house alone to find her 39 year old mother dead on the floor of her home... with Tucker, the dog, watching on. Mildred Sage, who was like a third grandmother to me, passed away shortly thereafter. After that, Clara Belle finally did exactly what she always claimed she would do, and died after a botched surgery at South Georgia Medical Center. This was the last tragedy I have experienced, thank god, but I still think about her every single day of my life.

All this sadness and death that surrounded my life made any form of religion an incredibly hard thing to believe in. If God is listening, and God is always working towards the greater good... then why in the hell would he let so many good people die so young? Why are murderers, rapists, theives, and all-around assholes still allowed to roam this Earth while my father wasn't even allowed to reach his 30th birthday? It just didn't make sense to me for a long time. It still doesn't make complete sense to me, but that's how the world works. Everybody dies, like it or not.

After all the death finally settled, then I was forced to deal with Jenna's exodus. Apparently, she decided that I wasn't self sufficient enough to marry her. That I wasn't rich enough, more or less. Then, she went down the street and found a new man, in the form of a guy who I'd known for years. My whole world crashed after that. All the death, all the sorrow, all the terrible life experiences I'd had as a 23 year old man came to a head when she walked out the door for the last time. The bitterness I felt was absolutely unrelenting. I was bitter at Jenna for leaving when I needed her the most. I was bitter at my "friend" Shelby for being a chickenshit, and lying to me about the whole thing. I was bitter at Daryn for "letting it happen." I was bitter at my other family at Pawn USA for constantly reminding me of everything that went down. Mostly, though, I was bitter at life (and, by association, God) for the cruddy hand it had dealt me.

The thoughts in my head were down right scary. I seriously thought about ending it all with a .357 that I purchased, ironically enough, for my own protection at the pawn shop. I didn't really want to die, looking back... I just wanted the pain to be gone, by any means necessary. I quit my job, and for a while, had nothing but time and my own thoughts on my hands. It was a dangerous concoction at the time, but I finally saw my way through it. With a little help from my friends, everything finally worked itself out.

Earlier this year, I reacquainted myself with Casey Nichols, who I met working at Fresh Beginnings in the summer of 2002. In a six month period, she has done more to steer me in the right direction than I could ever ask for. Casey is a missionary, with a life devoted to serving God... and as such, is vastly different a person than I. However, that is changing. We dated for a few months, but we recently (and mutually) decided to just be friends due to our glaring lifestyle differences, but her contributions to my life will never be forgotten. I wish I could repay her, but I wouldn't even know where to begin.

She showed me the light while I was still encompassed by the darkest period in my life. She showed me that life is what you make it. You can be a sad sad for the rest of your life if you want to... OR, you can take your painful experiences and turn them into something positive. Like Rocky Balboa said, "It ain't about how many times you get knocked down, it's how many times you get back up." It took some convincing, but I have finally broken through to the other side of my struggles. I have found that life isn't just about me. Life isn't about how much money I can make, or how much useless material shit I can have. Life is about doing the best you can to keep yourself, and those around you, as happy as you possible can. I mean through love and caring, not through dinner at Applebee's, or through an XBox 360, or a new car... or whatever. It's far more satisfying to help the people around you, however you can, than it is to look out for number one. Sure, you might have a lot of money, or a lot of "stuff," but what difference does any of that make if you've got no one to share it with? None, and I speak from personal experience.

She also helped me come to terms with my creator. I have always been a skeptic about religion, and God... but Casey helped to explain the whole thing in a way I could understand it. I'm still not sure if God is a physical being, or if he's just manifested as the conscience inside all of our heads. However, I know he's out there, and that's more than I could ever say before. That revelation actually came to pass in the most unlikely of places, Las Vegas. On a trip to Sin City, which Casey encouraged me to undertake for myself, I had a coming to God moment. In the middle of the trip, I got extremely homesick. I was unable to sleep at night, and all I could think about was how I might never see my mother again, or my friends... or Valdosta in general. The thought of taking another twelve hour flight back home was absolutely terrifying to me.

I called Casey one morning, still unable to get even a wink of sleep. I told her what I was going through, and by golly, she talked me right out of it. Not only did she calm my nerves by simply being on the other end of the phone, but she calmed my nerves by praying for me while I was still on the line. That particular moment in time was where I came to believe in a higher power. We got off the phone, and I prayed myself. I wasn't sure who I was praying to, nor what it was going to do... but believe me when I tell you that, if I hadn't prayed every day in Las Vegas, I think I might have killed myself out in the middle of the desert.

Long story short, I made it home unscathed. I don't know if it was divine intervention, or just an airplane ride that didn't go awry. I do know, though, regardless of who was responsible for my safe landing, that the praying is what gave me the strength to survive that trip, and the plane ride home. I got off the jet, and saw my mom's smiling face before I even got inside the Valdosta Airport... which was exactly what I had prayed for. Everything just went so perfectly, and I've had such peace of mind since the trip, I just feel like there's no denying that God has a hand in everyone's life, even mine.

I have prayed almost every single night since I got back, and I have never felt more at peace with the world. I'm never going to be a by-the-book Christian... but just talking to God (or Jesus, or Buddah, or Allah, or whoever it is...) has worked wonders for my personal life. It has helped me to find a calling in life, outside of your everyday job. I decided that I was going to do my best to make a difference in the lives of others, just as Casey has made a difference in mine. I don't know exactly which avenue I'm going to pursue, but I know it won't be helping myself at the expense of others. It'll be helping others at the expense of myself. I feel really good about that.

I truly feel that the childhood portion of my life has finally come full-circle. I'm no longer the bitter, sarcastic young asshole I once was. I am a grown man with grown up experiences, and a grown up perspective on life. It's weird, and it took me a full quarter-century to get here, but life is looking better each new day, as a direct result of the challenges of yesterday. The only way to get through shit is to go through shit. I understand this now, and I welcome any hardships that might float my way. I will come out of that either stronger than I was going in, or dead. I will NOT take it lying down.

As for tomorrow, well I don't know what tomorrow holds, but that's the beauty of this one life we are given. You live it to the fullest, help everyone you can possible help along the way, and you roll with the punches as they come in. When the world finally rids itself of J.G. O'Connor, it's going to be a different place than it was when I entered it. You can bet on it.


(That's the end, but I have one note to Casey: Thank you so much for renewing my faith in this world. If it wasn't for you, I don't know where I'd be, nor what kind of views I would have on life right now. You have changed me, completely for the better, permanently. I know you'll give credit to God, and he probably deserves some of it... but if you didn't come along and point him out, I probably would have never met the guy. So, thank you very much. I said it before, and I will say it again; We may be different, and a more-than-friends relationship clearly isn't the best idea for us, but I will love you until the day I die. You are a special lady, and I hope that, whenever I do find the right one to settle down with... well, I hope she's exactly like you. A little more of a homebody would be lovely, but you know what I mean. After you, an average existence will be nearly impossible, and I couldn't be happier with that fact. Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU!!!)
What?

Aww man.... [23 Jun 2008|10:36am]
George Carlin died today. Saddest thing I've heard in a long time. :'-(
What?

Well sir... [10 Jun 2008|08:10am]
I'm off to Sin City tomorrow morning...












... and I think I have finally caught chicken pox. Fuckin' A.
I said read my messages!| What?

Pump It Up! [04 Jun 2008|12:33pm]
----- I've been working out like a madman for the last week or two, and man, it's wearing me out. I can't remember what you call the routine, exactly, but there is definitely a name for it. What I've been doing is, four or five times a week, just working out certain parts of my body until I absolutely cannot do it any more. Dumbbell curls (thanks, Farrah!), sit ups, push ups, jumping jacks, squats, jogging, bench presses, military presses, and I've been whipping up on my punching dummy as well. I really feel like it's doing me a world of good. My chest feels like heart attack city, but it's only because I'm not used to such rigorous activities. I hope, anyway.

Since January of last year, I have lost over forty pounds, and I have managed to keep it off. However, as happy as I am with the loss of all that extra weight, something is still missing. I'm still not in good shape, I'm just not a fat ass any more. Now, I'm focusing on adding a little bit of muscle to my thinner frame. I don't want to be ripped, by any means. I just don't want to be a skinny fucker for the rest of my life. So, wish me luck. I haven't given up yet, which is a miracle for me, given my previous workout history... and I'm actually starting to see some results. It's very promising, methinks.


----- My open letters entry didn't seem to do any good. Not for anyone besides me, anyway. I forwarded the link to Daryn, and asked him to read it for himself... but to keep it away from that dynamic duo, Jenna and Shelby. I figured, if anyone, he would be willing to talk about the way things worked out. I s'pose I was wrong, because he never responded. I actually tried talking to him about six months ago as well, and was greeted with the same "acknowledge nothing" response. I don't know what I did to warrant radio silence from him over the last two years. I can understand Jenna and Shelby keeping their distance, but Daryn's situation is very confusing to me. Whatever. I guess I'm not meant to understand it. At the very least, I can say that I saw the err of my ways, and that I tried my best to make things right. I can't help it if I'm the only one on Canna Drive who isn't too hardheaded to admit, out loud, that I was wrong for once in my life. You can say whatever you want, but that's the truth. I was the bigger man, and it felt pretty darn good... I just wish it were enough to get him to talk to me again. Jeez.

However, this is the last you will read of that situation. I've said it before, I know, but I mean it this time. My hands are now officially clean. I have apologized, I have forgiven, and with that being said... I have done everything I could possibly do to make things "right" with everybody. I think that's pretty commendable for someone who didn't really do anything terribly wrong, except for becoming severely outspoken when it looked like his friends were turning on him, in the first place. Whether they accept my apology, and whether they ever forgive me for being so irrational during that period of time, really, is beside the point. There is nothing I can do about that. It's off of my conscience, and it feels great to be able to at least say that with a straight face. I guess they will just carry around the extra baggage forever, because clearly, nothing is ever going to be resolved on their end. Not as long as they refuse to acknowledge it, even to themselves, anyway. I s'pose they'll just try to pretend it never happened, that they didn't do anything wrong, and live with it in the back of their minds forever. That makes me happy too, kinda. It just furthers my original point.

So, with that, I put this subject to rest. I tried to make amends, but I was unable to do so. There isn't a damn thing left for me to do, other than close the book on the trio. Again, it really upsets me a little bit that Daryn, of all people, still won't respond to my efforts. It's like he only sees the part that claims he might've been a teeny bit wrong, and just says "Nope, he's out," or whatever. I just don't get it. He really was a good friend, and I really will miss him being a part of my life. What are you gonna do, though, other than what I've already done? It's not up to me any more, it's up to them. And if they don't want any part of a pseudo-reconciliation, that's fine. I just hope they remember my face every time something bad happens in their lives... karma is a first-class bitch... and a first-class bitch who I am elated to finally have on my side.

In closing, farewell to the 319 Kliq. I hope your conscience can be as clear as mine is, one of these days. Until then, have fun carrying that load. ;-)


----- Farrah Dawn wholeheartedly endorsed my open letters... and, really? That's all that matters.


----- Ending the day with some good news, I finally booked my Vegas Vacation yesterday. I've been ironing out all the loose ends for nearly a month now, but I'm finally getting the hell out of town next weekend, for at least five days. Hopefully, those nice folks down the street won't take advantage and TP my house or something. Though, really, they throw all kinds of shit in my yard (Big thanks to Brandon Howell for starting that battle, by the way... Jesus H. I haven't thrown a single piece of trash in anyone's yard, but I sure catch hell for it.) when I'm home anyway, so I don't really know what difference a five day outing is going to make. We'll see, I guess.

In any event, I am SO ready to go. Hopefully, it will be everything I have dreamed of... and who knows, maybe I'll come back rich, to boot! Hehe. Later, gators.
What?

Open Letters [01 Jun 2008|02:27pm]
Another suggestion I have received is to write letters to the people who I would never actually mail one to. It is supposed to help me get things off my chest, and be able to say them as if those people were really listening. So, that's what I'm gonna do.

--------------------------------

Dear BoSox Girl, (first and foremost, of course)

I am still coming up there soon, quit crying! My Vegas trip is in roughly two weeks, and Boston is next on the map. Don't fret, I'm sure you can stand to wait until then. When I get there, it will rock!

Byebyebye!

- J.G.


--------------------------------

Dear Jenna,

For someone who I haven't spoken to in well over a year, you enter my thoughts quite often. Today, as a matter of fact, Leland told me that he saw you and your Nana at Winn Dixie recently. Also, Tommy D told me that he saw you at Publix. I don't know why people still feel the need to tell me this shit, because I don't care what you're doing, but they do anyway... and it never fails to make me brood about things a little bit.

With that out of the way, let me offer you this: I sincerely apologize for the things I said to you, post-breakup. I should have kept those things to myself, as it only made matters worse. I know that you have had a rough go of things as well, in your own right. While that still doesn't at all justify your actions, nobody deserves to be spoken to the way I spoke to you after I figured the whole mess out. If there is anything you are still carrying around from the things I said to you, please relieve yourself of them. The things I said were out of rage and spite, and I should've just shut my mouth. I'm sorry.

I wish you would have provided me with some sort of explanation, or some sort of closure, but you didn't... and I can't change that. People have told me that you and Shelby probably stayed hidden so well because you knew you were wrong, but you didn't have the courage to admit it. While that makes perfect sense, I think I will never understand how it is that Joffre McLane (who cheated you, and abused you both mentally and physically) warranted more of a fond farewell than I did after everything we had gone through together, but I guess that's just another one of those things. It wasn't my responsibility this time, so I s'pose that explains everything that needs explaining.

You have made it nearly impossible for me to trust women, at this point in my life. I hope you and Shelby are happy. I really mean that, honest to God. If you're not truly happy together, then you have royally screwed up an innocent person's views on the world's female population for no reason whatsoever. You might as well say the entire population in general, actually, since you drug people who I called friends into the whole fiasco. It makes for a terrible "who can I really ever trust?" outlook on life. That's what my whole point has been, since the rage has subsided. It's not about me being pissed that we broke up, and you're now dating an old friend of mine. I have dated other girls since, and there is one in particular who shines like a lighthouse. My life truly has been much better without the extra baggage, and I imagine you would echo my sentiments. That's beside the point. It's about how you guys did it, said piss on me, and never gave me ANY closure whatsoever on the matter. It's about principles, plain and simple. I had to create closure alone, and just accept that there is nothing I can do about it. It wasn't easy, but I did it. However, the scars are going to last forever. I just wish, as someone who I cared so much for at one point in time, that you would have had enough respect to just clue me in on what was happening. That's all.

I forgive you for it, though. It wasn't right, but people do dumb things sometimes. So, again, you are forgiven.

Regardless of everything, I hope your life is as happy as it can possibly be. I am still healing in some areas, but forgiving and apologizing to you has greatly helped in the process. I'm not sure if that's a credit you'd like to receive or not, but you're getting it anyway. I truly am sorry if I had any adverse effects on your life, through my verbal tirades. You (and only you) know why all of this stuff happened... but I am sincerely apologizing for my role in the aftermath. With that being said, I have officially done all I can do. I hope you believe it, because I truly mean it.

Best of luck to you in the future. I hope your life unfolds exactly as you have envisioned it.

- J.G.

-------------------------


Dear Shelby,

I'm not going to be as nice to you as I was to Jenna. Yes, I am sorry for the things I have said about you since I found out about everything. As with Jenna, no one deserves to be heckled and mocked in such a fashion. I apologize.

However, your case really bugs the shit out of me. I understand that it's nearly impossible to say no to a "pretty" girl when they throw themselves at you. How do you think I ended up with her in the first place? She had to pull a lot of stunts to land me as her boyfriend, and then her fiance. A lot of things that she would never admit to, and for that matter, a lot of things that I wouldn't dare repeat anyway. She also had been dating one of my close friends at the time we got together... so I really have no choice other than to completely understand that situation. I absolutely can't fault you for it. I did the exact same thing. I wouldn't do it again, but you know what they say about hindsight. I'm sure you'll agree with me on that one day, if you don't already.

That's where the understanding ends, though. The last time I saw you, aside from random times when you ease outside of the house long enough for me to see you on Canna Drive (lovely choice of location, by the way), was right after Jenna and I broke up. I knew something was going on between you two, but no one would offer any information up. Daryn said he saw some shady dealings, but it was nothing concrete. So, I bought a case of beer, went up to your door, and offered you a cold one when you came out. I asked you, man to man, friend to friend, what was going on, and you said absolutely nothing. You said she was trying to get with you, but that it wasn't going to happen. You didn't have time to deal with her drama, supposedly. I asked that you not take it any further, and you said you wouldn't. I respected your honesty, at that point. Hell, I even thanked you, and you even shook my hand without batting an eye. I don't know how you did it.

Nowadays, I don't even trust my friends because of you. Yet you have the audacity to smile and wave when you see me. I'm not going to say anything about that, other than this: You should consider yourself extremely lucky, sir. Extremely lucky, on a number of different levels. I'm sure you can figure out why, exactly. I mean, you wear glasses and a suit, with a rag doll haircut and a shaggy beard... it just oozes "Look at me, I'm oddly smart!" If you're have some trouble understanding me, then you should probably just hit the ol' bottle some more. That always worked for you previously, right?

See? I didn't even mean to say all that, but I did. I'm sorry about that. I honestly do hope that you and Jenna are happy together. It would pain me to think that the two of you put me through that much trouble for nothing. As with her, I really wish I'd have received some sort of fair warning from you. Or at least some sort of explanation/apology afterwards. I honestly do wish it wouldn't have happened like that.

Though, in fairness, I guess your honey bun probably wishes that she didn't create her incredibly vain Playboy Bunny (more like Hustler Homegrown...) scrapbook for my Christmas present too. Whaddya gonna do? Wishes aren't always granted, and you obviously can't change the past. However, I've no use for it, other than as a dust collector in the guest closet. So, if you ever want it, you're welcome to it. And don't even act like you're too proud to take a hand-me-down. Who knows, right? Maybe it could provide you with something at least halfway decent to think about while you're sulking around the house with the present-day model. I mean, I'm sorry. Hey, it's there if you want it. Ya know? That's all I'm saying. (Stop it, J.G.! Dammit! You were doing so good! You definitely should save this last paragraph for a future stand-up routine though, for sure. It's genius!)

Anyhow, all joking aside: If I said or did anything that actually effected you in any sort of negative way, then I truly apologize. Best of luck to you in the future, and I hope that, one day, that suit of yours becomes something much more than a mediocre case of visual trickery. Good day to you, my friend.

Sincerely,

- J.G.

-------------------------------


Dear Daryn,

Right off the bat, let me say this: There will be no smartass remarks for you. If anything comes off that way, I honestly don't mean it.

As far as I'm concerned, our friendship was the biggest casualty of the whole affair. I never got to really tell you how I felt, or why I felt that way. Not without me going crazy over some aspect of the situation. I know how I was, and I'm sorry. You were unwillingly caught in the middle, and you didn't know what to do. Let me state my feelings before I go any further... the only reason I was ever mad at you was because you didn't do anything to stop what was happening from happening. Please do not stop reading here, it's not the same old song and dance as before, I promise. I have some interesting revelations in store, I'm just getting this out of the way.

I always thought that you should have stepped in and been like, "Um, excuse me, what the fuck are you doing?" to those two. It was obvious, based on their actions (and mine), who was right and who was wrong. I said some terrible things after the fact that made an immediate repair impossible, but the fact remains. I didn't do anything to warrant any of that shit from either of them in the first place. Anyhow, if I were in your shoes, I have always liked to believe that I would have been more than outspoken on the ordeal. Bullshit would have been called, and I probably would've banned Jenna from the house. Especially after you knew she lied to me about where she was, parking in your backyard on a number of occasions. I just thought it looked like you, as a friend, failed to stand up for your longtime friend, nor what was right.

However, with more time having gone by, I can see your side of things. I can speculate all I want to, but the honest truth is this; I don't know what I would have done if I were in your position. I wasn't in your position, so how could I? I don't know what you knew, I didn't see what you saw, and I didn't hear what you heard... so I just can't say for sure how I would've handled it. You did what a lot of people would've done, and just cut yourself away from the whole thing. Shelby was already your roomie, so what were you supposed to do? You didn't have to approve of it, and you probably didn't (I hope), but now I kind of understand why you approached everything the way that you did. It's definitely not a simple black and white scenario.

With that stuff aired out, let me also say this... I really am sorry for anything that I said or did to you personally during the last couple of years. I wish I would have done everything differently, but my brain was on the verge of breaking apart at the seams. I was literally blinded by emotion. Like you, I didn't know what else to do. I am sorry, though, for what it's worth.

We had known each other for roughly seven years when all of this took place, and I always considered you to be one of my best friends in the world. I figured we would still be hanging out well into our vintage years, actually. I don't say that about very many people at all. Like I said, losing our friendship was the biggest casualty of this experience. It was definitely the hardest pill to swallow, and I still think about it all the time. You're a good man, and you were a good friend... you just got stuck between a rock and a hard place. It happens.

I don't think a reconciliation will (nor should) ever happen with Jenna or Shelby, but I don't see why you and I can't be friends again. Everything I have ever wanted to say is right there in plain English. I hope that's enough for you to understand where I was coming from, and forgive the things I said while my head was on backwards. If you ever decide to take me up on that, you know where to find me. You still have an open invitation. I would love for you to take it one day, without harping on this shit at all. If you never do, just know that I'm sorry for the role I played, and I wish the whole damn thing would have never happened.

Good luck with whatever you do, chief. I know you'll be just fine, without question, but still... good luck, Abert. Hehe. Later, man.

- J.G.

(PS: You'll never believe me, but the beer and cigarette packs in question are NOT mine, I swear! It was result of me, I'm sure, but it was not and is not me! Ok, that's it.)

---------------------------------


Dear Nana,

I'm sorry this whole thing fell into your lap. You'll never know how much it hurt to have you call and yell at me about how I needed to leave Jenna alone. I had already lost Mildred and Clara Belle earlier in the year, and when we hung up the phone, it felt like I had lost another grandmother in the process. I have never once said a cross word about you, but I can apologize for the fact that you even had to deal with that unpleasant scene. You are a wonderful woman, and you didn't deserve the additional stress.

I'm also sorry that Jenna didn't tell you the whole story. I'm not going to go into detail about the whole thing, but it definitely merits a mention that you only got about 30% of the truth, and 70% of the edited truth. The 30% of truth, was in me saying some pretty horrible things about Jenna after we broke up. That I did, and I'm not proud of it. However, the other 70% turned out to be a complete crock. Your approval and God's approval had about as much to do with our breakup as the price of chickens in China. It was more about a selfish ulterior motive, and a desire to fool everyone into believing that your granddaughter was, in fact, the angel you always said she was. Again, no details, but you passed a very quick judgment on me, and never bothered to listen to what really happened.

I don't mean to sound at all like I'm trying to ruin the wonderful relationship that you and Jenna have. I always thought that the two of you were so perfect a pair, it was ridiculous. I just want you to know that, contrary to what you have probably heard, I am not a bad person. I am still exactly the same as I was when you were singing my praises. I have been completely honest about my stance the entire time (much too honest, I admit). You may love her, but that's more than Jenna can say.

Again, I am very sorry you got dragged into the this. I am sorry for the awful things I said to your granddaughter. I have apologized to her as well, for the little it's worth, and in case you were wondering. I also apologize for saying that you received half truths from your bloodline, but I had to say it, because I never got the chance before. In any event, people make mistakes, and what's done is done. I know you will continue be the phenomenal grandmother you have always been, and you will look after Jenna until you are no longer able. I just hope your grudge against me can subside upon reading this letter. I never intended for it to happen the way it did.

I've no idea what purpose this letter served, other than easing my mind on how you feel about me. I truly did consider you to be as close as a grandmother, and it really hurt when you disappeared with Jenna. I hope you can understand that I was in a different place, mentally, when I made the derogatory comments towards your granddaughter. I was forced into a corner, and I didn't know what else to do aside from lash out. I also hope you understand that the situation you were presented with was a far cry from what actually happened, and that my mental breakdown was fairly justified when everything that really took place is taken into account. I have seen my errors, and I have apologized to everyone I can possibly apologize to. I hope you can forgive me some day.

Take care,

- J.G.

------------------------------


Dear Lindsay (John's girlfriend... don't recall the last name, sorry!),

I heard about your forced involvement with Jenna's side that night I discovered all of you over at Daryn and Shelby's house. You know, after she lied to me about being at your house hanging out. I heard that you asked her that it not be done ever again, and I also heard that things with the two of you haven't been the same since. I really appreciate just knowing that, a lot. I'm glad to know that you saw where I was coming from, even without me saying a word to you about it.

I'm sorry I made false assumptions about you, and stopped talking to you altogether. You are a cool chick, and I hope you can forgive me for it. A stiff handshake is in order the next time I see you.

- J.G.


--------------------------------


Dear Jarrod,

Sorry I cut you off completely, if you even noticed that I had done so. You were my first roommate ever, and a pretty unique cat altogether. I still think fondly of you, I just figured that you would definitely take Shelby's side over mine. You guys used to be like hetero-lifemates or something, so I just went ahead and charged your friendship to the game.

Hope you're doing good, chief, wherever you are.

- J.G.


----------------------------------



Dear Ashley,

Stop protecting your purse, and get over the hypocritical "animal right" stuff you're always preaching, if only so you can hug a few people every now and then. People first (family and close friends are very hard to come by in life), then animals (who, in all likelihood, would much rather look after themselves), and then money (which doesn't matter worth a shit when you're on your death-bed anyway).

As soon as you get a grasp on that, I will take you on that trip to Jamaica... but not a moment before. I love ya, cuz, but you gotta get with the program one day.

And stop hogging Don. Jeezin' Crowe, let that negro out for some light every now and then!

I'm never mad at you, so don't even start asking! ;-)

- J.G.


------------------------------


Dear B. Howell,

I wish you would stop fucking up. It's neither clever, nor funny any more. It's simply predictable, and aggravating as hell. One day, life is going to come crashing down on you like a ton of bricks, and right now, I do not believe that you are even slightly prepared for it. I hate to say anything negative about you, since we've been friends for nearly two decades, I really do. I only do it because I honestly worry that your life is almost to the point of ruin, and you don't give a shit. You won't hear it, though. As a matter of fact, I pretty much refuse to say anything bad now, because you never listen. You only think I'm being an overbearing, know-it-all asshole, and that nothing bad will ever happen to you.

You better listen to this, home boy: If you don't clean up your act pretty soon, and at least TRY to do something positive with yourself, then you're not gonna have anyone left who give a rat's ass whether you live or die. That's real. You're the closest thing I ever had to a brother, and you have a lot of friends out there... but you're still on a downward spiral, and without Crissy as an added anchor, you really have no one left to blame but yourself. We all want you to do right, Brandon, but we can't do it for you. Think about it.

Take care of yourself, REALLY...

- J.G.

(PS: Please get over Jessie Bius. It's been six years since you broke up, for crying out loud, and I'm tired of hearing about it from both of youse. She still cares about you a lot, but she feels the same way I do. You just need to get it together, post-haste! Then you can worry about the love of your life, whoever it is.)



---------------------------------


Dear Casey,

Who would have thought we would be where we are today? I am so thankful for your patience throughout, and your understanding of, this whole crazy thing. Our friendship has always been a blessing for this guy, since the day we met, but it has certainly shone through over the last several months. I don't know where I would be right now, if it weren't for your continued advice, support, and "rambling" in general. I trust you completely, and that says all that really needs to be said, especially with my ridiculous amount of issues. All I can say is thank you, from the bottom of my heart. You'll never know how much our relationship means to me.

As for your future, I'm not even going to pretend to have a clue. Whatever it is, and wherever it is, always know that I only wish you complete and total happiness when you get there. I am sure that you, if anyone, will be able to achieve it. I have no idea where our "perfect fit" is, in the wild jigsaw puzzle of one another's lives. I do know for a fact, however, that you will ALWAYS have a deluxe condo in the beautiful downtown section of my heart. You are a genuine, unique, brilliant, and all-around wonderful girl. One of the absolute best I have ever known. Never change, miss. Not for anyone.

As a side note: I also know that I hope you never marry someone else. Or, at least, not a jealous man. If I'm not able to cuddle up on the couch for a movie with you at least once every two weeks for the rest of my life... well, I don't know what I'll do. :)


... you know ....

- J.G.

-----------------------------------




WOW! That was a super long entry. I feel kind of crazy, having written all that... but it really has worked wonders for my stress levels today. I am still having trouble keeping my mouth entirely closed, negativity-wise, with this whole thing. The letter to Shelby was obviously my weak point, but I'm making progress. Thanks to Casey for pointing out this "how to deal" tactic. It really helped, all in all.
I said read my messages!| What?

Hmmm... [22 May 2008|11:27am]
"... but that's their cross to bear, not mine."


Yes, I stole that from someone else. However, I think it applies to the whole forgive and forget thing I've been rambling about lately. Maybe I should just say it's ok. Yes, bad things happened. Yes, my feelings were hurt, and I felt betrayed on a variety of levels. No, I don't understand why, on any level... but maybe I'm not supposed to. Maybe I should just charge it to the game. Life in general has been a lot better to me since then, and I don't know why I should really care any more. Plus, I didn't do anything wrong, aside from dish out some severely cold statements to all parties involved.

And I'm sorry for that. There, I said it.

I'm not sorry for thinking all of that stuff, because the whole thing really did make me (very literally) sick to my stomach for a long time. That being said, I could've definitely done without expressing those angry thoughts aloud... you know, directly to them, anyway. It only made matters worse for everyone, and it made any kind of collective closure pretty much impossible. I should have just gone on about my business, because having to do it by yourself has proved to me much more difficult. Whatever the case, I have arrived at that destination, finally. I'm sorry that I said all of the terrible things I said. Period.

With that out of the way, I can say that I no longer have any kind of extra baggage from the whole affair. I'm not going to bother sending them an apology, or anything that crazy. It wouldn't matter in the long run, and really, it's enough for me to just know that I am truly sorry for the verbal retaliation. I can accept that I will never get an apology from any of them, and it's fine that way. Like the quote says, it's their cross to bear, not mine. When I go to sleep at night, I know this to be true: If you base the whole shebang on actions, rather than words, then my hands are totally clean. I didn't do anything to any of them, and I've apologized for the things I said as a result of their actions. There is nothing more I can do.

I'd like to hear them honestly say that.

Though, that's neither here nor there. I forgive them for what they did. I hope they are able to truly do the same, one day. The end.

So....

Man, that felt pretty good, actually. I feel like a freed slave, except... you know, white guy and everything.

As for the future; I'm turning 25 in a week or so, and I'm going to VEGAS, byotch! Woo hoo!!!
I said read my messages!| What?

In touch... [15 May 2008|04:34pm]
I haven't slept much in the last couple of days. I've had so much stuff on my mind the last couple of days, it's been ridiculous. Not that it's a bad thing to have a lot of stuff on the brain, because it's not. It's kind of exciting, actually. However, in trying to get a good night's sleep, having a restless mind equals having a restless night to go along with it. According to at least one wacky psychology major in my contact list, it really helps to relax you if you write down everything that's on your mind. I couldn't write everything down if I tried, at this point, but I'm going to try to air at least a few of my thoughts and concerns while I'm here.

I feel like a flight risk and a half, right now. I've been thinking about packing up some clothes and just hitting the road for a long time now. Not going anywhere in particular, but rather, everywhere in general. I just want to get out and see what the world has to offer, through the lenses of a lightly tinted pair of aviators. I don't know if I've expressed this in my blog, or here on livejournal yet, but it is starting to get ridiculous. Every morning, when I wake up, it's the first thing on my mind. I want to GO! It just feels so weird for me, though. Weird to even think about. I've lived in Valdosta, more or less, my entire life. I leave for short vacations here and there, but I've never been on a long excursion from home by myself. It would be wildly radical of me to just pack up and peace out like that, but I really feel like I need to do it.

I'm at another crossroads in life, and I think I would do very well to just get out in the thick of things. I do not, under any circumstances, want my life turning out to be nothing more than average. I don't want to be someone who, on my dying day, will only be able to say that, "Well, I worked hard, retired (wealthy or otherwise, it's beside the point), and died before I could ever really enjoy it." Don't get me wrong... many people have found many happy lives through living that very statement. It just isn't for me. Plain and simple. I am at a time in my life that is probably going to end up being a unique one, and I do not want to waste it. I have a chance right now that, if I wanted to, would allow me to just go on a LONG vacation to anywhere I damn well please, without having to look back once. I am young, I am single, and I am very much full of enough ideas to keep me busy "out there" for a while. Not many people have this chance while they're still in their twenties. For that matter, not many people have this chance, period! If I don't take it by the horns soon, it's going to pass me by like a fart in the wind. I cannot have this. I simply cannot.

I have absolutely no idea where I stand at work. However, with the previous two paragraphs having been written, I guess it goes without saying that this is not the most pressing thing on my mind right now. I can stay, or I can go. Either way will be fine, I s'pose. I hate to leave the place, though. I feel mildly indebted to them. It's an odd feeling, really. On one hand, they did help me out on more than one occasion. On the other hand, I haven't been able to get a straight answer from anyone about anything since I started working from home. So, for now, I guess it's their move. I can wait.

Ugh. My mind is overrun. I feel like I'm crazy sometimes. That I should just settle, and work 9-5 like everybody else. It's the sure thing, I guess. I just don't see myself ever being happy doing a regular job, working regular hours, in a regular office, in a regular town. I don't give a shit if I make five dollars an hour, or five hundred dollars an hour... I just don't think I could be happy. I want to do something different. I still don't know what, exactly, but I know it needs to be wild and crazy.

I don't think I can even write any more, it's making my head hurt. That's not a fraction of what's on my mind. I just really hope I can go to sleep now, since I put some of it out there.
I said read my messages!| What?

Forgive and forget... I wish it were that simple. [07 May 2008|02:04pm]
- Apparently, the only way to truly get over the thing with Jenna is to forgive her for what she did, and move on. I'm having one hell of a problem understanding this. Maybe you can help, whoever you are. How, exactly, is one supposed to "forgive" someone who has had nothing but a severely negative impact on you, and how you live your life? I posed myself with this question, and I could come up with no answer. I honestly cannot fathom how I would even begin to forgive her.

She lied to me for her own benefit, on several occasions. She lied about being in love with me, so I wouldn't break up with her and make her deal with her piss-poor set of circumstances alone. I wouldn't have broken up with her over that anyway, because I'm not a piece of shit, but that's beside the point. I loved her, and I would've seen her through anything. The death, the depression, the weight gain, and just getting herself back to normal. Those are all things I helped her deal with, and things she said she would never forget. As soon as my grandmother died, and I had to deal with those things, she vanished like a fart in the wind. She even told me, of her own free will, that the main reason we stayed together is because she needed me for her own peace of mind at the time. That's a lovely thing to know. The person you trust completely has just turned her back, and actually made it known that basically everything she ever told you was a lie.

Not only did she lie about that, but she lied about why we were breaking up. She went so far as to say she wanted to get closer to GOD. She felt like our relationship wasn't right in the eyes of God, and in the eyes of her beloved grandmother. Then she just started randomly banging some other cat. She even lied TO her own freakin' grandmother about the whole thing, citing those same reasons. We broke up so she could go out and bag someone who I called a friend, and just lied to me about it constantly. She didn't have enough respect for me, through the entire thing, to simply level with me. She just lied and lied and lied.

"No offense, JG, but I wouldn't date any of your friends."
(Direct Quote: As if my friends were below her or something. That's hard to imagine for a person of her quality. And rightly so, I guess.)

Then, when I found out it was all true, and confronted them about it... well, wouldn't you know it, they both just disappeared and refused to EVER acknowledge it. And now, when I see them, they both wave. Like it's a big joke to them. I guess it is a joke, and it always has been, but I just don't understand how you could do that to somebody... hell, to anybody, let alone someone you claimed to care about more than anything in the world. I don't hate anybody in this world, and I'm proud to say it. However, I have absolutely zero good thoughts WHATSOEVER, when it comes to that tandem of folks. I just do my best to not think about it. It was working quite well for a while, but I really am interested in figuring out exactly how to go the extra mile and actually forgiving that person for what they've done.

People make mistakes, but good people own up to it. Good people don't do what she did. It gets her off that she did this to me so long ago, and I'm sure it gets her off even more to know that it still hurts me in the present. That's not the proper mindset. I wouldn't be able to live with myself if I did that sort of thing to someone. I can't figure out how someone else could do it, and laugh about it for years to come. I was innocent, and I'm still paying for it.

Sorry to drag that out, but I told you that, so I could tell you this...

Nowadays, it affects me in my relationship with other people, especially women. There isn't anything I want more in this world than to have a girl to come home to every night, as they say. I s'pose I am a hopeless romantic. I love to give love, and I love to be loved. That's the girliest sentence I have ever written, but it is true. Anyway, since that whole incident occurred, it's made achieving that even more difficult. I can't well have a true love if I can't have true trust with anyone. Jenna just seemed so authentic with everything she said or did when we were together, and then she was just so completely cold towards me when I was trying to understand what was going on around me, and why it was going on.

Now, in the back of my mind, that's all I can think of with any girl. (There is but ONE who has really earned my trust, and she knows who she is. I think she knows why it's so hard for me to give my complete trust to anyone presently, because she is being unfailingly patient with me. It has not gone unnoticed. To her, I say thanks for helping to rebuild my faith in females, among other things. I greatly appreciate it, and everything else you do. We are both unsure of where our relationship will end up, but we do know that we'll always have a strong love for one another, however it turns out. And that is pure gold. Long parentheses, I know, but it calls for one... and this is the longest entry ever regardless. So what's another five lines or so, right?) I feel like, if Jenna did it, and I was so sure about her, then what's to stop someone else from doing the same thing? The first time it happened, it screwed my head up very severely for a long time. I really don't know if I could take that kind of pain again. I try not to think this way, and I succeed sometimes. It's just, like I said, the fact that someone has done something that blatantly malicious to me makes me very cautious of putting too much trust into other people, out of fear of something similar happening. It's a shame, because there are certainly people in this world who are deserving of my complete and total trust... much moreso than Jenna ever was... but it's very hard for me to just lay it out there now.

In closing, I repeat my original question. Where do I even begin in forgiving these two people? I could sit here and say all day long that I forgive them, and that it's done, but that just isn't the case. It is done, and there is no changing it. I have accepted that much, and I have moved on, in that scenario. I'm over it, as far as being upset and hateful. Hell, in a lot of (read: most) ways, I am a much better person for having lived through that whole ordeal. However, there are clearly still some serious trust issues from the fallout that get in the way of me being able to build a healthy relationship currently. I haven't forgiven them, and if that's what it is going to take for me to be able to truly say I'm over it... and, more importantly, to be able to have true trust in people again... then, that's what I'll do. So, where do I start?
I said read my messages!| What?

What a weird night. [30 Apr 2008|11:35am]
Yeah. I haven't had one of those nights in a long time.

Yesterday, I played the newest installment of the Grand Theft Auto series nearly all day long. Ok, who am I kidding. I played it ALL day long. From the time Brandon Howell woke me up at 9, to the time I went to sleep at about midnight... I might as well have been literally hooked up to my television screen. I haven't had a game that I could play like that for a long time. It was kinda nice, but at the same time, I felt like a real dork watching Niko Bellic run amok through the sights of Liberty City for over twelve full hours. Shoot, I even went to the midnight release party at the mall the night before. I only played it for about four hours that night, but I started at about 2:00. No rest for the wicked, clearly.

Anyway, onto my weird night. Long story short, I had a very strange dream, and the only recollection I had was a brief exchange with my ex-fiance. I haven't spoken a word to Jenna Mulvey, nor Shelby Callaway since early last year. I have had a few new girlfriends since then, and a new job, a new car, a new television, a new wardrobe, a new video game system, a new office. Not to mention I have lost 40 pounds, and kept it off. Shit, when I put that stuff out there like that, it would seem as though my quality life has done nothing but skyrocket since I dropped that extra baggage. In fairness, it really has. I turned into a completely new person, and though it was rough for a while, I cannot complain a bit about the way things turned out after the fact. I just have these little spots of bad memories every now and then, I guess.

That dream last night really bugged me out, though. Aside from just randomly seeing Jenna and Shelby, and yelling whatever obscenities I can think of at them (my personal favorites being "Keep walking, bitch, you need the exercise!" while Jenna was strolling by VSU, and "Nice bike... faggot." while Shelby was riding his queermo bicycle down my street), I really haven't thought about the two at all. Then last night, out of nowhere, Jenna appears in a dream. I was behind what looked to be a bank tellers window, or something. One of those glass deals where you can see out, but you can't communicate or touch. She walked by, and kinda taunted me without saying a word. I was behind this glass wall, and I couldn't say or do anything about it. I couldn't even give her the finger. I actually tried, but it just wouldn't form. Eventually, I got it out of my mouth that she was a dirty slut, and that she should be burned at the stake for what she put me through. Then, in the weirdest part, she attempted to make amends. I told her to keep her fucking hands away from me... then I woke up.

This dream weirds me out mainly because I worry I may have it, or one like it, for the rest of my days. That situation evolved from something I never understood in the first place, and it's something I will never receive closure on. And that scares me. It's like my myspace profile says. I fear that I might die before I ever get even.

That poses another question, however. How, exactly, would I go about getting even? Ryan Kelly told me once that he thought, with the way everything went, that those two were lucky to still be alive. With all the CourtTV I watch on a daily basis, I have come to find out that people have been killed for much less. Trust me, the thought of beating both of them to death with a tire iron definitely crossed my mind... but I'm no killer. So what do I do to gain true closure? At one point, an apology from them would have been accepted, but that point is long gone. It was never what they did, but rather how they did it. Joffre cheated on Jenna, pushed her around, and treated her like shit in general. I still gave him the courtesy of a warning, an apology, and everything else under the sun before I ever told Jenna I would be with her. It's just the right thing to do. I never laid a hand on her, I never cheated, and I helped her through so many crises in her life that I have since lost count. The only thing I ever asked was that she not do to me what she had done to Joffre. I reckon she held up that end of the bargain. She did the same shit, just without giving me the courtesy of letting me in on it.

I guess, maybe, I should take that into account. When I was involved in the equation, the right thing was done. When I was not involved, there was nothing but lies an deceit. I even asked both of them straight up, what was going on. They both looked me in the eye, and lied right to my face without batting an eye. Especially Shelby, who shook my hand after I thanked him for his honesty. Fucking coward. They lie to your face for months, and then wonder why you fly off the handle when you find out what's really going on... then they go into hiding so you can't cuss them, or in Shelby's case, kick his fat, ratfink ass up and down the length of Canna Drive.

Anyway, it's been a LONG time since then, and I still can't completely shake the memory. I feel as though I have been damaged permanently by two terrible people who could have cared less then, and who could care less now.

I'm sorry to bring this rant back to my livejournal space, but I'm kinda looking for an answer. How do I go about getting closure on something like this? I don't think about it during my everyday life, but obviously, you can't help who pops up in your dreams. And if it's in my dreams, then that means it must be hiding somewhere in my subconscious. So, What is a guy to do?
I said read my messages!| What?

Moving up the ladder... hopefully. [04 Apr 2008|02:57pm]
Yeeeeeeeeeeessiiiiir!

I got some positively wonderful news both yesterday and today at work. After several weeks of racking my brain about whether or not to leave MSIS, I finally broke down and told my boss about my concerns. A truly groundbreaking move for yours truly. Typically, I would just walk away from an office that has caused me this much stress. However, MSIS is in a different category. I have never had a workplace that encouraged me to work hard, move up the proverbial ladder, and make something of myself as much as they have. My friends at Pawn USA were good to me, don't get me wrong. I love them all, and I will never forget how good they were to me when I was going through my own personal meltdown... but even Kathy herself said that there was no future for me at the pawn shop. It was a good job, with good people, but it is what it is. A family business that I might make a decent living off of, but that I couldn't carry with me for the rest of my life.

MSIS has given me the opportunity to have a great career, and as much as I don't want to disappoint myself, I don't want to disappoint the people up there who have helped me make as much progress as I have so far. I feel a big loyalty to them in that respect. The Judah's have been very good to me. They paid for my training, they paid for my test(s), they paid for my licenses... everything. Not only that, but Ben and Charles are both good peoples in general. Ben told me once, when I started thanking him for all the financial help they have given me along the way, "You've got to give before you can receive." I know that's a common slogan, but I also know he genuinely meant it. I've seen both he and Charles put that saying into action many times in my near-year with the company. In any event, it was just a very refreshing thing to hear from the person who signs your checks.

Aside from the financial aspect, the company has also helped me grow as a person. I get a great feeling from doing my job every day, whether I get a sale or not. I love talking to lonely elderly folks... maybe I'm weird, but they're entertaining, and they need people to ramble on with. If I can get a sale too, that's great, but I will help them regardless, because it makes my heart smile when they just appreciate my efforts. That's probably not the best motto for a salesman to live by, but making my clients/potential clients smile and giving them sound advice on their health care takes a definite precedence over how much money I'm bringing in every week. I hope I can make enough to stay afloat, that's all I know. I've also lost a lot of weight since I started working there, I stopped partying pretty much altogether, and I'm just happier in general.

Oh, and not that it's a direct result of MSIS, but it definitely merits a mention that during my time there, I also (re)discovered the most wonderful/honest/generally precious/mildly crazy girl I have ever met in my life, Casey Nichols. We're still figuring things out as we go along (she has read even my backlogged journal entries, and not broken up with me yet, which is definitely a good sign), but I really could not ask for a better girlfriend. She has brightened my life in so many ways, it's not even funny... and I'm sorry I once said she had a big butt, and that I always thought we would get together eventually, even though she had a serious boyfriend when we first many years back. Ok, that last part, after the three dots of doom, was strictly for brownie points. Hehe. She really rocks, though, and I'm not too proud to say that she has my heart in a stranglehold. So there.

Wow, I just went off on a hell of a tangent. Anyway, MSIS is the best place ever... but I was having some issues with the inner-office drama. It's always going on, and it's incredibly distracting. Also, I had some issues with being called and independent agent, while having to answer to a "direct supervisor" who is not a Judah. Not that I'm above anyone else, because I'm certainly not. I just want to be an independent agent, like my paperwork says. So, that stuff finally got the best of me, and I decided to go talk to Ben about it. Once again, he came through for me when I needed him to. I told him (after I thanked him again for all his and Charles' help, and made sure that it was known what I was about to say had no reflection on the Judahs or their family business) that the office was driving me up the wall, and that I wanted to work from home, independently. He told me that I could do whatever made me happy. He said he understood about the drama, and that no one should be in a work environment which makes them crazy. Again, you have no idea how refreshing it is to hear these sort of statements coming from the president of a company. I had dreaded bringing it up to him, and I still felt guilty for dragging him into it after everything he had already done, but it went better than I could have ever imagined.

Starting Monday, I'll be selling over the phone, from my house. Next week, or the week after, I get to go up to Atlanta, and train with one of the best agents in our company. When I get back home, I will get to not only call my customers in Arizona, West Virginia, and Alabama (which was all I was asking for in the first place)... but I'll also get to do face-to-face sales here in Valdosta. Not door-to-door, before you scoff. I have to actually be invited to their house before I can go knock on their door.

So, again, I got everything I requested and more, and I got to maintain a great relationship with the people at MSIS. I'm so happy right now, I could cry. I'll be turning my guest room into an office this weekend, and Monday, I'll be a free agent... if you will. I know they'll never read this, but thanks so much to my coworkers at MSIS. Ben and Charles go without saying, but the rest of MSIS needs to be properly acknowledged too. Farrah, for getting me the job in the first place, and helping me with various marketing duties (while looking and dressing terribly). Kevin, for having a door that is literally always open, even though the phone lines are flooded. I was rude to him one time, and he has made me regret it ever since. David Emery, for being my partner in crime through this entire ordeal. Heather, for helping David and me pass the super-tough insurance licensing exams, and for smoking cigarettes with me on an hourly basis. Pamela Kuhn, for pitching the idea of me becoming an agent right off the bat. Pam Meadows for being buck wild... and for helping me put things into perspective as far as the office drama goes. Carrie, for keeping me smiling, regardless of what's going on. Ron Wayne, for keeping me abreast of the latest developments in the mixed martial arts world. Barbara, for being Barbara. She is one of those people who just make you feel good when you're around them. Always happy and charismatic, and her work ethic is second to none. Matt, for showing me that a trumpet sounds freakin' awesome when coupled with an acoustic guitar. He said earlier that he's "gonna have to find someone else to practice with." It made me smile, but it made me sad at the same time thinking about the individual people I won't see as much now. Lisa, for poking fun at me, and for letting me poke fun at her. Most people aren't allowed to cut the fool with her, so I feel honored in that respect. All the girls in the back, for that matter, are a riot. Howard Goldstein has been a big help too. He's been an adviser of all sorts, for me. Financial and personal. Not only that, but he's a trip to just hang out and BS with. The solicitors are all hilarious too. Last, but not least are The Legendary Joey and Angie Sirmans, who were my first new friends at MSIS. I love them to death, and I definitely wish I could see them more often.

*Deep Breath*

I think that pretty much covers everyone. Like I said, I love the individuals I work with... I just couldn't work and deal with the drama at the same time. It was nothing personal at all. You might as well call MSIS one huge, extended family, and that's pretty awesome to me. Thanks again to everyone for being so supportive of me, and for all the good times. I'm really looking forward to starting this new chapter of my career... I just hope I can make you all proud!

(Editor's Note: This may have actually been the longest journal entry I have ever written. Holy jeez.)
I said read my messages!| What?

Wrestle-freakin'-Mania [01 Apr 2008|02:37pm]
Well, I just got back home from Orlando yesterday... and boy, that was the best trip ever. Thank god. I was kinda ticked at the thought that I would never see a wrestling trip as good as Boston in 2006. I'd hate to think that my fondest live wrestling memory would include Jenna. Seeing Hulk Hogan in person was a huge milestone, so far as my fandom goes, but it couldn't hold a candle to sitting alongside 74,364 other people (we set a Citrus Bowl attendance record) this weekend for the biggest WrestleMania of all time.

It was a sight to see, I am here to tell you. 75,000 people doesn't sound like too many... that is, until you get into the mix live. I remember looking around several times throughout the night, and just thinking to myself, "Man, would you look at all these people. Better keep a picture of this in your head, chief, because you won't see a happening like this for a long time." It was just unbelievable. The fireworks were simply incredible as well. I heard that they had a couple of pyro malfunctions, in which a few people were injured, but I didn't catch it. All I know is I've never seen more fireworks anywhere. It was hotter than the fourth of July, so to speak.

The trip as a whole, really, was freakin' great too. Brandon and I went to the Amway Arena to see the WWE Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony. We dressed to the T, and had a blast. The filler crap in between The Rock and Ric Flair (who were on first and last, respectively) was kinda boring, but we kept ourselves entertained by poking fun at the other wrestling fans who were in attendance. I'm not trying to be a hypocrite, because God knows I love wrestling more than anything in the world... but wow, some of these folks made my obsession look like a passing interest by comparison. Anyway, Ric Flair's Hall of Fame speech was long and emotional, just as I expected. I didn't cry... yet... I figured I would save that for his match at WrestleMania.

It wasn't a completely foregone conclusion that Ric Flair, who has a career that spans four decades and sixteen World Championships, would retire after his WrestleMania match against Shawn Michaels. I mean, I pretty much knew he would be, but I clung to a straw of hope right up until the referee counted The Nature Boy's shoulders to the mat for the final time of his illustrious career. Shawn Michaels had just beaten the greatest wrestler of all time, and with that, Flair's career came to a close... and I was sitting right there for it. Some guy was raising a fuss at Don during the match, but I tried not to pay much attention, because I wanted to soak up all of the emotion from Flair and the thousands of people in the stadium. I still didn't cry... yet... too many people for all that. It took all I had to maintain myself, though. Seeing Flair exit the ring for the final time was something I thought I'd never live to see... much less see in person.

The rest of the trip was cool. We mostly just hung out, and I ate at BB King's House of Blues, which was also neat. They had better BBQ sauce (my other obsession, next to wrestling) than I have ever had in my life... so I bought a bottle to take home, and a t-shirt, which I have on now. Unfortunately, WrestleMania came and went without the purchase of even one souvenier. I got a program for the show, and my invitation to the Hall of Fame, but that was it. I guess the pictures and the memories will have to do. Oh well.

So the trip was over, and I was back home. However, I couldn't close out the entire vacation without shedding a tear for The Naitch. He had his "Farewell Address" last night on Raw. He told the crowd he would never, ever wrestle again. He told the fans not to mourn, but to rejoice. He had the greatest pro-wrestling career of ALL time. He had more fun and raised more hell than any one lifetime should contain. Then, he thanked the fans for making him the man he is today, and for the memories that he will cherish for the rest of his life.

Before he could leave, the entire locker room had poured into the ring to show their gratitude for the man who inspired most of them to become wrestlers in the first place. Past, present, and future superstars lined up and bowed to "The Man" for his final hurrah. As Raw went off the air, you caught one final glimpse of Ric Flair hugging his friends and family...

... and THAT, my friends, made me cry. Thanks for the memories, Nature Boy. I will never forget this weekend, and I will never forget The Dirtiest Player in the Game.

WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
What?

Writer's Block: Part One [25 Mar 2008|06:31pm]
Since I've been gone, apparently livejournal has adopted this new feature called "Writer's Block." All it is, pretty much, is a topic for you to write about. Kind of like they gave you in school, only there are a million choices, and you don't have to write about it if you don't want to. Anyhoo, I think I might do this from time to time when I get bored. It should be interesting (for me). Here we goes:

Writer's Block Topic:
Why do you think it is some people don't get along with you?


Ok everybody, right of the bat, I swear this is the first topic that popped up. It seems like a poetic one for me to take a stab at in my first Writer's Block entry, but I promise that the topic found me, not the other way around.

With that out of the way, let me say this about that. In this day and age, there are very few people who don't get along with me. I'm not the madman I once was. Not in any way, shape, or form. However, with all the crazy (or not-so-crazy, depending on who you ask) changes in my life lately, the only thing that hasn't changed is my honesty. Some people have always had a problem with my penchant for saying the first thing that comes to my head... and I guess some people always will. To be fair, I would probably call this "bluntness" rather than "honesty." I mean, I am pretty honest, but in some cases I find myself saying things that sound a lot more harsh than I actually mean them to. The point is basically the same, it's just that I come across like a meanie when I don't intend to on occasion.

Typically, it's people who are either doing something they aren't supposed to be doing, or someone who doesn't want anyone else to know about their shady dealings. I kind of have a bad habit of pointing that stuff out, and I'm sorry. Well, not really. I mean, again, sometimes I don't mean to be so blunt... but if you weren't being generally underhanded in the first place, I probably wouldn't have anything to say about you.

I probably still have a few enemies from the things I did as a drunk. I was a real jerkoff to a lot of people, and I did a lot of things that I definitely regret now that I look back at them with sober-goggles on. To those, I can only offer a sincere apology. That was a different person, to me. I'm still honest, but I'm no asshole.

In closing, I'm pretty confident that I can get along with just about anyone. If I absolutely cannot do it, then there is probably a damn good reason. I hope this is a satisfactory answer... you know, because it matters.
I said read my messages!| What?

It's been a long time coming. [20 Mar 2008|07:23pm]
Ok, so I haven't posted an entry on livejournal in a VERY long time. I have been wanting to, trust me, but I haven't been able to find the time or the words. Posting on livejournal for me is all about getting it off of my chest, and to be honest, I haven't gotten my real feelings out there in quite some time. I have been a very angry young man, a very sad young man, and eventually a completely changed man in the last two-plus years since I had a relevant post around here.

It's crazy how much a man can change in a given period of time. I've had this journal for going on seven years now. Looking back, the alterations to my personality are clearly evident to me. I went through and read some of my older entries a couple of weeks ago, and it was the first time I had done so in forever. It was shocking. At points, I was embarrassed that the things I was reading even came from my head. The viewpoints I had on life and the people in it were very sideways. Not just the people around me, but people in general. I just... I still can't believe that I wrote some of that stuff.

I have since apologized to nearly every single person I ever said a cross word about. Farrah, Abe, Randy, Daryn, Sarah... the list goes on. I still don't talk to most of these people, save for the obvious exceptions, but I made my peace with them. Either way you slice it, I felt a lot better each time I mended a fence. We might never have lunch again, but peace has been made, regardless. I don't know where I picked the mentality up, but somewhere along the way, I decided that I was going to try to be at peace with the world. Other than the occasional blow-up at work, which everyone has, I have pretty much achieved that goal.

Getting myself situated into this new job has changed the way I look at the world, too. When Clara Belle died, I didn't have any older folks to look out for. I just had myself, and it was lonely. With my job now, all I do all day is talk to elderly people, and attempt to find them some good, affordable health care. For a while, I was thinking I wouldn't like it. Selling anything over the phone in general is shady to me, so I didn't know if I could do it or not. However, the people I have talked to have really changed my mind. No one will ever replace my grandmother, but I feel a similarly close connection with a lot of the people I now deal with on a daily basis as an insurance agent. I love to help them out in any way I can, whether I get paid for it or not. That's the only hold up I have about my job, is that my charity work counts for nothing. I guess that's the way things work, but it would be nice if I could actually change that at some point in my lifetime. Anyway, back to the point. The people I deal with at work have softened my heart to the cruel world out there. The world just wants to people to live, work hard, spend money, and die before they can enjoy retirement. It kills me.

Nowadays, I try to wake up with a smile on my face, and I try to be a good person in general. I have stopped partying, and started living, and it feels nice. The infamous "break up" that ignited this whole transition period in my life really did turn out to be a blessing in disguise, looking back. It hurt, and it hurt bad, but a year and some change later... and it looks like an honest to God blessing for me. My quality of life is so much better than it was during that period of time. I had time to realize that a girl is not all there is to this world. It's nice to have someone there, but if you don't really have their heart, then it's not much of a relationship. That relationship was clearly a thing of convenience for the both of us, and it was unhealthy from start to finish, I was just blind to it. Obviously, I will still never have a kind word to say about she or the "friend" of mine she tucked and ran away (four houses down) with. However, I would like to go on record (in my most private of forums) and thank them for being the catalyst to what has become one hell of a turnaround in my life. If they hadn't been as cruel and uncaring towards me as they were, I would probably still be the same guy that I always was. As it stands now, it may have taken me a while to get here, but I am happier now than I have ever been in my entire life. For that, I am truly grateful.

Of course, as soon as I figured out that a girl isn't all there is to this world, a girl comes into my life. Well, she has been in my life for a long time, but the light randomly started shining on her a lot more clearly than it ever did before. Casey has also been a big difference-maker in my life. I don't want to get over-excited and jinx myself, so I'm not going to say too much, but I am definitely smitten by her. She feels very... right. She just seems like the missing piece of the puzzle, kinda. I am not going to blow it out of proportion and say this is it, or whatever, but I'm definitely interested enough to try and find out. It's a different kind of relationship, with a different kind of girl, and a different kind of feeling altogether than I have ever had in my life. We'll see what happens, again, I don't want to jinx anything.

So that's my up-to-speed for the livejournal world. Sorry it was so multi-directional, but that's my life for you. I hope to make these posts more frequent, as I feel like I will have more to say now that my world does not consist purely of piss and vinegar. Thanks again to everyone that has stuck by my side (and thanks to the people who jumped ship, too!), for making my life as enjoyable as it is today. I couldn't be happier with life and everything in it than I am right now.

I said read my messages!| What?

Wow. [19 Nov 2007|11:26pm]
Yep... my life hasn't changed at all since I last updated. Not a bit.

Jeez.
I said read my messages!| What?

Tracy Morgan In Field Of Dreams [26 Apr 2007|02:25pm]
What?

Yep... [14 Aug 2006|07:46pm]
People are still livejournaling, I see. Way to keep the faith, folks.
I said read my messages!| What?

Attention, ladies... [09 Feb 2006|08:12am]
I am officially off the market... got engaged last night.... yep.... certainly did.... that is all.
I said read my messages!| What?

... [28 Jan 2006|05:20pm]
Most everybody around town knows this by now, but Jenna's mother, Sandi, died last Saturday night somewhere at around 10:00. The week has been crazy, and I'd rather not get into it... as the crazy week is still going on. Anyway, I made the front page of the paper today talking about our coroner, Charles Exum. Here it is...

----------------------------------------------------------------------

Family upset with coroner
Brianne Sweetland

VALDOSTA A Valdosta family is concerned about the way the Lowndes County Coroner treated them after a family member was found dead in her home, apparently of natural causes.

Jenna Mulvey, 19, discovered the body of her mother, Sandra Norman, 39, Saturday after an unanswered phone call to her mothers residence prompted Mulvey to check on her mother.

While the family credited the paramedics, Lowndes County Sheriffs Office and Carson-McLane Funeral Home for a job well done, they questioned the professionalism of Coroner Charles Exum.

A letter addressed to The Times from Mulveys boyfriend, Jonathon OConnor, states Exum was unprofessional and unbelievably uncouth in regard to the situation.

According to OConnors letter, Exum repeatedly told Mulvey her mother was overweight. He also repeatedly inquired into purchasing Normans Ford Explorer Sport-Trac.

Early this week, Exum made a house call to visit the family. He said the house call was to relay information from the crime lab doctor that Mulvey and Normans sister should have blood work done as a precautionary measure.

During the visit, which OConnor said was unnecessary and Exum could have relayed the information through a phone call, Exum asked again about purchasing the truck.

Exum said he never asked to purchase the vehicle, nor did he make any offensive remarks about Normans weight.

He said he reiterated to the family what the crime lab doctor told him about Norman being extremely overweight.

I wasnt trying to bad mouth her, he said.

The reason he asked about the truck, Exum said, was because it is part of his responsibility to have an inventory of the deceased persons belongings, especially when the death is the result of an accident.

However, this isnt the case in Normans death, who died in her own home.

While investigators believe Normans weight was a contributing factor in her death, the toxicology results are not back from the lab. Friends also reported Norman was having trouble breathing the evening of her death.

If I upset (Mulvey) Im sorry, Exum said in a telephone interview. I was just doing my job. It upsets me they are upset with me.

Exum said he would make a special effort to apologize to the family.

After the interview, Exum visited the Times office and said he decided he had done his job and wasnt going to offer an apology.

I wasnt trying to rip the lady off, he said. I just asked about the truck. Its a free country.

In the letter, OConnor said Exum also suggested Normans death may have been caused by drug use.

While Exum said he did ask about drug use, he didnt mean criminal drugs but prescription drugs.

The crime doctor wants to know what kind of medicines they are on and if they had any health problems, Exum said.

But the family feels Exum just poured salt in the wounds.

He did his job, yes, OConnor said. He could have come and said, Yes she died, and sent her to the crime lab. But thats not what he did. He just stood here and told us how fat Sandi was and ... how it wasnt natural for a 39- year old to die. He could have been more tactful.
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Anyway, so yeah, all of that is true. That Exum guy is a piece of shit. Too bad the papers couldn't have just run a headline saying that instead.

Jenna is doing better now, and I'm still with her at her house. Hopefully this will all work out. But thanks to everyone who has called or come by or whatever... it meant a lot.
I said read my messages!| What?

Ok. [01 Jan 2006|11:12am]
One of two things has happened.

1. Daryn is mad at me for not being at the party last night, and isn't returning my text messages, or...

2. Daryn throttled Andy Bruce at the party, went to jail, and isn't returning my text messages.
I said read my messages!| What?

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