The Death of a Legend
Sigh. Summer is over, and with it, my special summer haircut, my MOHAWK. Now, I join the ranks of the normal, just another man with a shaved head, walking down the street: little, ole’ average me. Joe Normal. Totally mundane.
Yeah, right. I’ll never be freaking normal. I know I’ll never blend. But what is it about creative people that make them reinvent themselves every 2.4 months? At the very least, it makes keeping an updated profile picture a total pain in ass.
I think it boils down to this: creative people express themselves in every way possible. Sometimes it’s through a new, custom tailored suit (mine comes from Fedex today, YEAH!), sometimes it’s through a funky hairstyle, and sometimes it’s through the music blasting from the stereo. But creative people just have the need to EXPRESS.
Isn’t that cool? I can’t imagine plodding along all day, going to my cubical, staring at my computer screen at rows of numbers. Wait, I can imagine it: I tried it once. I really did.
The year was 1992. I was out of high school and finishing college. I needed a job. Any job. God smiled upon me, and I was delivered into the hands of Carla Mandley, CEO, Hoffman Canvas Products.
HCP was a 100 year old business in Baltimore, MD, selling both canvas awnings and canvas truck covers. In fact, anything canvas. And, in 100 years, they hadn’t changed a single thing. Even the desks.
There were no computers.
There was a calculator.
Everything was done by hand, a double entry bookkeeping system.
I learned the system. I was bored out of my skull. And, if you, say, put $1,242.03 for a sale that was $1,2042.30 — you spent, literally, an entire day looking for the error. IT ALL HAD TO EQUAL 0 IN THE END. THERE WERE NO “ADJUSTING ENTRIES.”
Now, keep in mind my dad. He used to have a guy he’d write a check: Clifford Michaels. Clifford Michaels did not exist. But, if at the end of the month, if his check book didn’t balance — he’d write a check to Mr. Michaels to MAKE it balance. I thought it brilliant. Carla Mandley thought it horrible.
Still, I sweated it out. And, Ms. Mandley LOVED ME. In fact, she thought I could take over the business for her when she retired. The other people in the office got wind of her plans: they hated me. I tried to tell them: I’d rather have a lobotomy than work for the rest of my life in this hell hole. They didn’t like that, either. They looked at me like I had a blonde Mohawk or something.
I quit after 6 months to move to Salisbury, MD with HE WHO SHALL NOT BE NAMED, and to start the aquarium store. Have I told THIS story? No? Well, one for another day.
Suffice it to say: I was happy to leave. Never have I been a clock watcher, I watched it the entire time I was working at Hoffman Canvas Products. Tick. Tick. Tick. Tick. Christ, time has never moved so slowly.
When I left, it was like I was given a permanent vacation in Fiji. Never have I been so happy. Though, I knew I’d miss Carla: I liked her. My other office mates? They were happy to push my creative ass out the door and get back to life as normal.
So, whenever I think of creative people vs. non-creative people, I think of HCP. And I realize, you just can’t fit a square peg in a round hole.
And I’m as square as they come.