Nothing to say and nothing to hear and nothing to see…

Which pretty much sums up where I am, blog-wise, the past couple of days. I took a little vaca from the Internet yesterday and went rock-wandering.
I still have a pile of junk in my yard, stuff that probably isn’t going to go back into the powershed because if it only serves as a mouse toilet and I forgot it was even in there I must examine the possibility that I don’t need it after all.

Here’s something funny, in a ‘not funny at all’ kind of way. ‘Member when you had a career, Joel? Well, this is all that’s left of it. It fits in a tchotchke bag from the 1993 Detroit auto show, and it’s covered in mouse turds. In the sad final stage of my disintegrating career, which I spent fending off homelessness by grabbing whatever freelance crumbs I could find, I lugged this thing around to a series of increasingly frustrating and humiliating interviews with people who were decorating their bicycles with neon decals while I was clawing my way out of dealership back shops. Finally I gave up and got a job in a cubicle farm until I could shake the California dust off my feet.

The highlights of my professional life make a paltry pile I should have pitched out long ago. Once upon a time I was very proud of some of these, each the work of months and in one case years. Now I can barely recall the circumstances. And I can barely believe I really put so much of myself into something so ephemeral and so unrewarding. Now these are bound for a landfill, which is where I should have consigned them a decade ago.

I’m gonna take LB for his walkie now. I’m still a little depressed, should never have tugged open the knot on that bag.

Hey, kids! This is what your grandparents thought was cool. So don’t let them give you any guff.

About Joel

You shouldn't ask these questions of a paranoid recluse, you know.
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10 Responses to Nothing to say and nothing to hear and nothing to see…

  1. MJR says:

    It’s fitting that the few remaining items from a troubled time in your past should have mouse crap on them. Get rid of these anchors and when you do remember they were from a time when your very soul was tested almost to the breaking point. In the end Detroit’s loss was your (and our) gain.

  2. Judy says:

    Aw, don’t be so hard on yourself. Without the experiences that occupy our pasts we wouldn’t be who we are today. Wouldn’t want to go back and re-live any of it; and that includes the few good times. Happy to be where I’m at today with today’s struggles.

  3. Goober says:


    I also carry around the ghosts of what I consider to be my failures in my career, and I also suffer from depression whenever my brain decides to torture me by veering down that dark path.

    If you followed my blog before I gave up on it, you know the story. Construction project manager, managing 53 million in projects (a high school, an elementary school, and a k-12 remodel, about 200 miles from home and 80 some miles apart) all at the same time.

    Got diagnosed with a tumor in my left atrium, after collapsing one day and needing to be hauled off to the hospital.

    Over the next 6 months of figuring out whether I was going to die, and how we were going to get said tumor out of my heart, my management of those projects became lackluster at best. My boss was unable to provide help for me and twould of the three projects fell behind.

    Mad clients turned into mad boss, and a few weeks after my heart surgery, while I was still recovering, I decided to resign my position. I couldn’t keep doing it while feeling terrible and fearing for my new family (my wife was pregnant through all of this) I thought my very life depended on it, and maybe it did. My wife certainly thinks so. After the surgery I experienced two bouts of internal bleeding and a minor stroke from blood clots, causing me to go temporarily blind.

    Anyway, I never got a chance to resign, because they fired me as soon as I walked through the door.

    And rightfully so. I had ceased to perform my job duties. I couldn’t do it while struggling with my health.
    I feel like a failure to this day because of it. I can’t shake the feeling that I just couldn’t cut it.

    For the life of me I can’t figure out why I should care so much. But I do and it kills me.

    You’re in sympathetic company buddy

  4. Robert says:


    Lemme see if I have this right:

    you were managing a buncha stuff
    you collapsed through no fault of yours
    you were trying to not die
    your management suffered
    boss was not helping
    you were trying to not die
    you got dumped
    you almost died

    I think the fancy phrase for feeling bad because you didn’t kill yourself for the job is “internalized oppression”. You did good. Have a beer. Or the symbolic equivalent.

  5. Goober says:

    Seems obvious, doesn’t it Robert? Like I shouldn’t be reliving every moment and every thing I should have paid more attention to or done differently.

    Seems like I could even blame the old boss. Forgive myself for being human, and move on.

    Seems that way, for sure. But for some reason, it ain’t that way.

    I have two daughters now, and a wife who loves me, and a good job I’m happy doing. But I still spend way more time thinking about that one failure than I care to admit.

  6. Joel says:

    In the Book of Common Prayer there’s this really abject morning prayer that pretty much sums up everything I despise about religion, but it contains a line that always stuck with me…

    We have left undone those things which we ought to have done; and we have done those things which we ought not to have done

    And maybe it’s just me or my background but that quotation chimes with me because even though I have found a great place for me, and my life is much more tranquil than it used to be, I still wake up some mornings practically paralyzed with humiliated remorse over some long-ago stupid thing I said or did, or long-ago correct thing I didn’t say or do. Even when I’m reasonably sure I’m the only person on earth who even still remembers that thing, even when in context none of it was even my fault, I still did it (or didn’t do it) and I still carry it around like a burden on my back. Part of the human condition, I guess.

  7. Robert says:

    Oh, thank dawg Goober and Joel feel bad about stuff they did or didn’t do. It means I’m not the only one who does that. Hey, maybe we’re normal! Or at least, typical. :-)

  8. Goober says:

    Part of the human condition? Do other people do that too, joel, because I rarely hear people talking about it. Mostly what I see are folks that seem nonplussed by their mistakes, who have figured out how to forgive themselves but maybe everybody is just suffering in silence. I dunno, bUT I hate the fact that I’m creating my own personal torment to no good result.

  9. Joel says:

    Do other people do that too, joel, because I rarely hear people talking about it.

    I am absolutely the wrong person to ask about what other people do. But I’ve done it all my adult life, and mostly assumed I was the only one. So. If I’m not the only one and *you’re* not the only one, maybe lots of people do it.

  10. suz says:

    Trust me Goober and Joel, you two are not the only ones who think “woulda, shoulda, coulda”.
    Everyone does it at some point in time or another, about a job, or a relationship. And Joel is right, 99% of the time, the person who you are thinking that you let down, or wronged, has totally forgotten it.
    Take a deep breath, and let it go. Think of something else. Try very hard not to get stuck on that hamster wheel, because it will wear a rut in your thinking/emotions.

To the stake with the heretic!