From hero to zero

[I may be the luckiest guy in the world, but even I have moments when I can’t figure out how to get out of a maze. That’s what this post is: my way of looking for an exit.]

For the past two years, my new job has been rough on my ego. More like, crushed what little I have of one. I had planned on being higher up in the food chain when I was hired, with more say over the direction of the company and my own path – a righthand man to the VP.  Ah, but he went and got himself canned the day before I started. Nice, as he was the reason I joined.

Luckily the new company still wanted me. And I’ve treated the last two years as a learning experience with a certain quote ringing round in my empty head: You’re not who you think you are, you’re who others think you are. 

Oh, how I’ve learned that lesson – and many others.

A headstrong group of individuals on the team is a chummy bunch and blocks others from being part of important decisions. It’s a fan club of 3 using the Hollywood style of complimenting each other (you’re great; no, you’re greater). I’m living a life of exile thanks to this inexperienced trio, which ironically I was supposed to have some creative control over.

The deepest cut happened when a replacement manager, who is a pal of the threesome, joined, reinforcing my downward trajectory from hero to zero. If there is a silver lining, I’m not alone in my frustration with the Hollywood 3 or the new manager and his weak management style. But as good as it feels to know others suffer too, it doesn’t grant me input and influence in projects.

I’m shooting to live at least another 3.5 years to see my daughter graduate from high school. How I’m going to fill my time between now and then (other than time spent in the hospital and doctors’ offices) is the question that haunts me.

It’s impossible not to ask: What if?

What if I didn’t have cystic fibrosis? This frigging nightmare disease cuts into every decision of my life. Some might just take it easy and collect a check. Or find another job, which isn’t easy to do with cf. I need to feel like I have value and I’m spending my time well. But it’s a heavy load when cf and others control my destiny and I can’t figure out how to move forward.

Isolation at home

One cold is all it takes to send me to the hospital these days. And when my daughter or my wife gets sick, it becomes a game of “stay away from daddy.” No hugs. No driving in the same car. We order take out. No eating at dinner table together. No touching cabinet handles or door knobs with a bare hand for me. My wife sleeps in a different room. The dogs pick sides at night, though they’re both rather sleep with my wife. Join the club, mutts. Join the club. What self-respecting Labrador would pass up a bed for a couch?

I’ve lived like this the past 10 days because my daughter caught a cold, then gifted it to my wife. Now I avoid both of them like we’re playing a game of tag and they’re it. I stay a minimum of 3 or 4 feet away and hope I don’t bump into a stray germ floating in the air, or stuck to a surface, waiting. It’s such an uncomfortable feeling to fight an enemy you can’t see. It creates a hyper-state of awareness in me-was that sneeze the first sign? Did that cough feel different? Am I feeling “off” today? Tick tock, tick tock.

So I wait.

How many times in the past have I thought, “I made it, I didn’t get” only to be fooled at the last minute?

I need someone to invent “germ-be-gone” glasses. They would include a powerful laser  to burn away bacteria and viruses. Now that would be awesome. Until then, I navigate the germ maze in my house and cross my fingers one of those little bastards isn’t going to latch on to me and send me to jail for two weeks. Tick tock.


How donald j. trump got under my skin

Rich people who whine. Can’t stand them, especially when can buy their way out of the worry of health insurance bills, keeping their job, or paying their rent or mortgage on time. Enter fat cat donald trump. Listening to him bitch and moan all the time and bully others strikes a nerve. And the path he’s taken to riches by gorging on gold McNuggets and the misfortunes of others, burns another.

I usually don’t spend time talking about politics, but trump is different. He is billionaire trash and needs to go back to his gold-covered tower in the sky.

This is a man who blatantly lies to and cheats others, like working-class Americans. He has no regard as to how he treats these small business people. And everything about him crosses a mental line for me. He’s not Bill Gates who has now devoted his life to making the world a better place, or Mark Zuckerberg who, with his wife, is going to help improve the lives of children across the USA, and perhaps the world. trump? His foundation is a zero-employee joke he borrows from for his own self-interest. Not cool.

I’ve lost track of how many tweets I’ve written about trump lately. I know they won’t change anyone’s mind about trump-that’s not their purpose. “Cathartic release” seems like a better way to describe them. They must spring forth to cleanse the disgust from my neural pathways: pseudomonas-infected thoughts brought to the surface and released.

I just can’t believe trump is the best the republican party has to offer this country. I can’t. I really can’t.