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.