“songs by the Little River Band” or, “how a Mexican and 12 pack of cheap beer inadvertently changed my life…”

I resigned from my job, yesterday.

When I was a child, I always thought that resignations were the distinct province of older white men who worked for fifty years at important companies, and were rewarded at day’s end with a signet pen and a bottle of aged brandy.

As an adult, I, of course, realize that a resignation is what parents have when they accept that their nearly 30 year old daughter prefers a boozy night out to a domesticated night in; or, in my case, what one says to her wonderful boss to mean, “I quit this bitch—only not today,” whilst walking out on a perfectly good job in the middle of a recession.

But more on that, later.

Though I didn’t realize it at their respective times, I bore witness to two events, this week, which ultimately proved the catalysts for my untimely bow out:

Wednesday, September 8, 2010. 7:45 pm. Alexandria, Virginia.

I decided to take some work home, and had parked my car curbside to easily transport the box of files I‘d, in all likelihood, ignore. Upon my return to the office, I heard a rustling noise from the far end of the hallway.

There he was.

The short, gold-toothed man of the cleaning crew.

Now, sadly, like most members of professions who occupy fancy office spaces, I’d never taken particular note of the cleaning crew or Gold Tooth; never offered Gold Tooth more than a smile, and a general “hello/goodnight”  in the two years time that I’d worked at my firm. I didn’t know his name, or if he had children. I didn’t know if he enjoyed his job;  if he’d drawn a correlation between my fondness for late night Thai takeout and my ever-expanding hips while dispensing with the trash.

But all of that was forgotten, as I stood there, in that new moment, immobilized, watching him with avid fascination.

He was attempting to prop open the glass door of the business at the end of the hall.

Only, he wasn’t using a doorstop.

He wasn’t even using a brick, or heavy box.

He was using……

a watermelon.


He was using two watermelons.

Or attempting to, rather.

You see, he’d get the door open and pushed to the side, and secured with one watermelon.

Then, he’d rush to get the other watermelon.


By the time he’d gotten back to square one with the second watermelon, the door was slamming with the first watermelon.

And it was slamming with force, too.

Like, it was sending Watermelon One rolling all the way down the hallway.

Then Gold Tooth would let out a curse, put down Watermelon Two, go rush off after Watermelon One, and start the whole thing all over, again.

As God is my judge, I watched him go on in this fashion for no less than two minutes before sparing him one last look, and a confused shaking of my head.

Enter life’s lesson number one:

Contrary to popular belief, most shit doesn’t make sense.

Our thinking that there is a determined model of how things are supposed to be is not a product of empirical fact as much as it is a general rationalization of something we’ve grown accustomed to seeing.

Thursday, September 9, 2010. 9:30 am. Alexandria, Virginia.

I was getting coffee at my neighborhood 7-11. Having been up since 7, dealing with the legal problems endemic to a society that permits marriage between two idiots but not two men, I wasn’t in the best of moods, and didn’t bother to look up when the usual band of ne’er do wells attempted to woo me with their early morning bird-doggery.

I was determinedly fixated on the perfect cup of Colombian roast, waiting impatiently for a fresh pot. As I stood there, staring angrily at the stainless steel java station, this loud woman entered the store, jovially greeting everyone with her raspy time-worn voice. Her movements were all at once shuffled and fast, blurry, but noticeably clumsy. She was about 55, and wore a dirty tee shirt and mom jeans, and a wig I would have easily described as the worstwigever prior to my move to DC (whose intimate familiarity with tragic wiggery has given me a newfound appreciation for the hair Afghanistan* that sat atop this woman’s head). Today I realize that hers wasn’t the worstwigever. It was just peasely/natty/nappy as FUCK.

Her outside voice belied an ease with the “s” consonant of which I took particular offensive note. I looked up to identify the source of my audio derision. There she stood, next to me, happily pouring old coffee into a cup and flooding same with milk and sugar; loud talking all the while, in a manner of speech marrying Daffy Duck with runaway slave. She had approximately four teeth in her mouth. 

Directing her conversation to a passerby I assumed she knew, she said, “I’m just trying to run these quick errands. Git these quick thangs. You know I gotta pick Mama up from her dialysis.”

I glanced over at the “quick thang” she was toting with her. It was a 12 pack of Natural Light.

She amicably chatted with the person at the station, making certain to mention two more times that she was in a rush to “pick Mama up from her dialysis.” It took everything within me not to roll my eyes or groan as I stood there waiting for the coffee I was certain would save some unexpected person from an unmerited curse out upon my entry to the office.

I nearly did a praise dance when I’d finally secured a cup.

Recalling that my assistant had asked me to bring her a pack of gum, I debated ,briefly, about what  flavor she’d like before remembering that she was my assistant, and I truly didn’t give a fuck.  Grabbing a packet of Big Red, I approached the cash register only to find myself behind the loud talking lacefront offender.

I once more fought the urge gouge my eyes out as she requested a pack of Parliaments and deliberated with her friend about which lottery tickets to purchase.

The doors opened, again, and the loudtalker eagerly greeted the new patron.

“Cousin!!!” she shouted (or said in a decibel natural to her).

“Hey, gal!” the woman replied.

The new woman appeared to be cut of the same cloth as the loud talker, and she inquired about Loud Talker’s comings and goings and the health of her mother.

She began, “Girl, what chu doin’ in here? Girl, look at you drankin that beer this early. I ain’t gon’ say nothin’. You know I ain’t gon say nothin’. How’s yo’ kin? How’s yo’ mama?”

Quite naturally, Loud Talker obliged her with the information she had been supplying the whole store, about her need to quickly complete her errands. “Chile, go on! You know I ain’t drankin’ this water beer, chile. If I was drankin’,  you know it’d be the bull, girl. You know I only mess with the bull. This here is for Miss Dena. You know I gotta hurry up cause Miss Dena gets her dialysis on Thursday, now.”

That’s when it hit me.

Miss Dena = Mama.

Mama = Miss Dena.

Loud Talker was in a rush to pick up beer for her old ass mother who she was also picking up from her dialysis treatment. At 9:30 am.

Enter life’s lesson number two:

There comes a time-

in every adult person’s life-

when you





giving a fuck.

Sometimes, the only shit that matters, is that shit don’t matter.

On Friday, September 10, 2010, at 7:15 am, I walked into my beautiful, wonderful boss’s office, looked him dead in the eye, and rejected nearly thirty years of indoctrination in favor of my own personal road less travelled.

It didn’t make perfect sense.

It didn’t have to.

I’d stopped giving a fuck.

*Afghanistan—Aff.gan.i.stan. n. A country in the Middle East bordering Iran and Pakistan; a generally fucked up situation.


13 Responses to ““songs by the Little River Band” or, “how a Mexican and 12 pack of cheap beer inadvertently changed my life…””

  1. 1 Luck&Lust
    September 12, 2010 at 2:08 am

    When you bought your assistant Big Red gum… it was at that point that I realized, you really don’t give a fuck. Bravo Fooler! I really do heart you.

  2. 2 NOLAPharmD
    September 12, 2010 at 2:22 am

    I commend you for resigning from your job. I did the same a year ago and have not regretted my decision once. Enjoy the journey.

  3. 3 gannsberg
    September 12, 2010 at 3:46 am

    Fooler, I wholeheartedly commend you for having the fortitude coupled with the temerity to say: “You know what, take this job and shove it!” As I sit typing this missive I am inspired! Let’s get out there and find what we enjoy and love to do and embrace it.

    Good luck with everything.

  4. 4 Her Royal Highness
    September 12, 2010 at 4:33 am

    Welcome to the other side. Tell your parents not to worry. If they don’t believe you, give ’em my number. I’ll tell ’em for you.

  5. September 12, 2010 at 8:00 pm

    I was FUNemployed for a month and it was awesome. I played NBA 2K with my other Funemployed friend, drank Miller High Life at 9:30 AM like Miss Dena and followed that up with a great wake and bake.

    Sometimes I went to the gym at noon like a house wife, sometimes I went to Museums, sometimes I went to day baseball games. One day I went to Philly just to get a cheese steak and then came right back. I started a blog, I went to wi-fi cafe’s to drink coffee and not write said blog. It was totally awesome!

    Then I got my dream job and life hasn’t been better. Also you might think being FUNemployed sucks because of the lack of money, but that’s what savings and FUNemployment checks are for- plus you never have to buy a drink or pick up the tab when you’re with your gainfully employed friends. If I could not work for a job that would be the best job ever!

    • 6 Phr34d0m
      September 13, 2010 at 2:59 am

      @ NyceBryce:
      FUNemployment, particularly the FUNemployment checks, only works if you’re laid off or are otherwise “involuntarily terminated” from your job, not if you quit. I was laid off in early-2009, so I know the entire process, including the FUN times one can have living off the gov.

      Quitting requires a bit more brass, especially in times like these. That said, I totally applaud your actions, Fooler. Aiming to be happy with yourself and the work you do should always be more important than getting a fat paycheck. Ideally, you have a job that both provides the greenbacks and is incredibly enjoyable should be the goal. Funny that it took a watermelon sliding across an office floor and some crazy women gabbing it up in a 7-11 to get you derailed from your now-past job situation, but that’s just how life is sometimes.

      Follow your personal road, because in the end, that’s all that’s gonna matter.

  6. September 13, 2010 at 3:09 pm

    Wow. It reminds me of the movie Risky Business in which the protagonist Tom Cruise is schooled by his friend, who also played Booger in Revenge of the Nerds. “Sometimes you just have to say, ‘what the fuck.'” Of course Tom Cruise still got into Princeton. I’m sure that you hedged your bet just like the rest of the black bourgeoisie and Tom Cruise in the movie for that matter, in so much that you have an ace up your sleeve. You don’t strike me as the type not to have an ace. Lawd knows “on it” black girls are prone to have an ace and some more shit, and from what I’ve read you are most certainly “on it.”

    Good luck in your future endeavors.

  7. 8 Misterr Carterr
    September 13, 2010 at 5:12 pm

    Can you pick me up a block of that gov’ment cheese?

  8. September 13, 2010 at 6:10 pm

    big red has to be the nastiest gum known to man outside of fruit stripe gum. you’re right though. there does come a point when you just stop giving a f*ck. i think my time is coming soon. what 7-11 do you frequent? smh. i do miss 7-11’s though. why the hell aren’t there any here?

  9. 10 Keenah
    September 13, 2010 at 10:25 pm

    Bravo Fooler! No better time to stop giving a fuck.

  10. September 15, 2010 at 1:32 pm

    This happened 3 days ago and I missed it?!!? When’s the party? Are you still drunk?

  11. 12 Yem
    September 17, 2010 at 9:03 pm

    Get it Bitch! Proud of ya!

  12. 13 Donn
    November 5, 2010 at 8:03 pm

    Better not stop doing this, all I have to say.

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