They say you can never go Home...

Soldiers of Sparta were allowed to return home after lost battles, only if carried dead upon their shields. I'm convinced this is a more practical and time-saving way to go about it.

Sunday, August 22, 2004

Nashville, Tennessee

I am in Nashville. There were chiefly three reasons I was looking forward to coming here:

1) To find (and ingest) a Peanut-Butter-and-Quaalude sandwich, in honour of The Elvis,
2) To be able to sing "Tennessee Stud" by Johnny Cash, and really feel it.
3) To attend my First Sales Meeting.

Anyhooch, I finished the song pretty quickly, and found out that Quaaludes have seemingly disappeared the way of all eighties hallmarks, like Molly Ringwald and Jelly bracelets. So, that left me with pretty much just the sales meeting.

I have learned that sales meetings run much like corporate day-to-day meetings, to the effect of being a colossal waste of time. Sure, the agendas ALWAYS look good--great! you think: This will be a very productive set of hours!

No.

It is an immutable law, proven more empirically than the Second (of Thermodynamic fame) that should one have compiled a decent agenda, there must be a polar antithesis to that order, in the form of a loud-mouthed complainer. No matter what! that person MUST be there, if only to balance out the cosmos.

In this case, since the sales were good, and we had surpassed all of the goals put forth this time last year, people were in a fine mood. And the arch-rival to agenderly order was in full-effect and presiding, but thusly, had switched from Complain mode to full Panegyric mode. In the midst of making overtures (which required frequent forays to the front of room, displacing the Master of Agendal Progress), he managed to incite nearly everyone in the room to a frenzied, congratulatory warm fuzziness about Our Product, which to be honest, eventually seemed like one big metaphorical circle jerk. (Not that I've attended one of these, but let me tell you, the thought of all these old farts joining a circle and doing something together OTHER than blustering seemed really funny at the time).

Part of me could not help but survey my new colleagues critically and wonder if this was my sort of legacy, too. For example, nearly every one of these men are sporting what David Sedaris calls "Dick-doos" (their stomachs stick out farther than their dicks do). Which is particularly disheartening. I mean, it's not that I have washboard abs or something, but I'm at least in the slow lane for a pack of coronitas. And yes, dammit, I know, it's okay to be different. It doesn't [theoretically] mean that I can't still do my job--it's just that I'm NOT GOOD AT being different. And that makes me so angry I can't stand it.

That seems to be the trouble with me this past week. Sure, I get it! So does [probably] everyone else, because I've made such a big deal of it here. I'm not necessarily the norm in this line of business, and you know what? I'm really thankful for it. But it worries me, too, tremendously. How is my scorn for what these people do--what I do--helping anything? It's not like any one of us is on their way to discovering a cure for cancer or anything, so why should that fact bother me so very much? I mean, if I feel so damned passionate about healthcare and medicine, then why am I HERE and not THERE? And then, if I'm in conflict about that, then why the hell am I not doing anything about it to get to it?

I seem to be caught in this absolutely paralyzing web of inaction. Whether it be for the good of this work, or the good of my future work, I am stymied. Either that, or too comfortable. But it doesn't seem like comfort at all--it seems like frustration. It seems like a battle every which way. If it's not with my Dad's domineering mindset(s), than it is with myself. Making all these customers "happy" is exhausting and seemingly impossible, and yet, I am a slave to the idea--in the absence of either having the knowledge (technical, social, or otherwise) or self-discipline to be different. I can't stand the idea of playing the part of a toady any more than I can tolerate the idea of being oppressively controlled. The coup de grĂ¢ce is, seemingly, the inability to make a move with any sort of inertia.

In moments like these, I flirt with the idea of a spiritual form of demolition--somehow I feel like if I am sifting through the shards I'll see the purer form of the building. Yet, when the tenement is constructed again, for the purposes of a passably-livable existence, the construction seems strangely the same.

Boy, this is enough messy theorising for one night, I should think! Anyway, I have to concentrate on practicing my southern drawl for my speech tomorrow night, and steeling my features for the inevitable and tasteless racial joke that will come at some point, from some yokel who has made the mistake of thinking that I am going to regard him as anything other than a waste of protoplasm.