Friday, November 18, 2011

Me, The 90's, and Potential

I have a funny story to tell, funny because while it’s true, and not funny, it’s illustrative of how other people perceive me. Or did at one time. 

Pretty much at the apex of my life
At a time of my life when I was still pretty young, early 20’s I guess, I was a bit of a wonderer. I was drifting along through life (I still am, if I’m being honest with myself here) without any real direction. At the time I worked in a gas station. The gas station was filled with people who had lots of other interests and tons of things that filled their out of work hours.

Let’s see, two guys were in a band that had just gotten signed to a record label and were on the verge of breaking it big.

Two guys had just graduated from college and were football players. One in particular was a QB who had dreams of playing in the NFL – he had an agent, offers on the table to play in the arena league and wrapped up his collegiate career as a pretty successful player.

One of my best friends, who had gotten me the job there, was in a band as well, they were just signed to a record label too. In fact, they were signed to, what was at the time, the largest record label in the world (well, a small label that was owned by the largest label in the world). They knew they weren’t budgeted to be superstars, but they had their foot in the door. Again, it was a big deal.

One day, my good friend and I were chatting about things, the future, what we’re going to be doing in life, you know, when you don’t have any real responsibilities and don’t know that the odds aren’t in your favor. He says to me, “Have you ever thought about how much talent we have here at the store?”


“Well,” he said, “think about it, we’ve got Andre, Chris, Scottie, (all discussed above), I feel pretty good about my chances… and yours too.”

“Me?” I asked. “I’m not even playing much anymore.” A reference to my guitar playing.

“Yeah,” he said. “But you’ll do something great.”

And that was that. I never forgot that conversation. He was sincere, and I was touched. I lost touch with most of the guys, except for being Facebook buddies. But none of us, except for him possibly, really achieved anything close to what we’d envisioned. Later on, at his wedding, he introduced me at the rehearsal dinner to the rest of his rather large party as, “the smartest guy I’ve ever known. Go ahead, ask him anything you want to about Star Trek.”

Yeah, that's sounds like something he would say. Good times. In some ways, it was probably close to the high point of my life, in regards to having friends, having no worries, and feeling that the world was my oyster. 

Sigh. I love my life now. But something 'great' hasn't just fallen in my lap. Here's hoping that I'm just a late bloomer.


Tonja said...

I love the picture! Did we date? (Just kidding, I was into the nerdy guys even back then, the Star Trek obsessed kind.)

I don't think great things fall on you - I think you have to work your butt off. It should count as a great thing to have an awesome blog that people love to read every day and to be writing seriously. How is that not success?

You should write a novel around the scene you wrote above - a bunch of talented guys working at a gas station. I'd read it.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

We need to play some Star Trek trivia then!
Achieving something great doesn't always mean an award or a job or a hit record or bestseller. Real success is how many people are better off because of you.
I'm a better person because you're my friend.
So that makes you great in my book.
(And we won't look that cool doing it, but we really need to jam sometime. Probably won't sound that cool either, but oh well!)

Grumpy Bulldog said...

If you think of how many people there have been in the history of the world and how many we actually remember it's pretty depressing. So you're in good company. said...

I've walked a mile in those shoes, but here's what you need to remember - and what I tell myself. Right now you're actively pursuing something. You have a blog, you write, and you help others in your "writing community." You helped me, remember?

We have a chance to succeed a little bit each day until we draw our last breath.

Oh, and the 90s were fkn awesome! Best music came from the 90s.

Andrew said...

Been there, done that.
Except not in a gas station.

Michael Offutt said...

We shall late bloom together my friend :)

M Pax said...

If we do what makes us happy, what greater achievement in life is there?

I think most of us wander around clueless. Maybe us lucky ones do ... as we usually stumble upon a life that makes us happy. Impressing people and being happy aren't the same thing. :)

Brent Wescott said...

Sounds like a conversation right out of the book Generation X.

julie fedderson said...

Ok, I would like to say something really profound about life but all I can do is stare at that picture and think you had freaking awesome hair.

Seriously, though, I understand that weird ache of desire for something that you don't even know what it is. It's what keeps you going, makes you try the different path even when you know the way home. Because how does any of us know we're complete--every day brings something new to add that might be the piece that was missing. Doesn't mean your life is any less great today, just different than it might be tomorrow.