Who Am I? by Wade Welch - HTML preview
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( by Wade Welch)
What is Truth?
Before I decided to write an autobiography, I had previously decided not to...several times. My story seemed unique all along, but it had little meaning to me. It just appeared to be a pile of confusion. Now, there is a difference. The overall timing seems right, and I finally discovered a pattern...a theme...guiding me through this life. I now know that, in my life, everything happens for a reason.
If you remember the movie "Forrest Gump", he went through a series of unfortunate events that always turned out to be very fortunate. In my life, the pattern is similar. Each time I chose a quest, it backfired. Instead of living the easy life, and never learning the meaning of life, I found various degrees of suffering.
Through this suffering, I eventually learned lessons that I would have otherwise never learned.
When I wrote "Deal Or No Deal; The True Meaning Of Life", I wrote about truth and facts. I had ten years of research behind my work. That is my writing style. I have a commitment to truth that goes beyond my words. I display it through my actions. Most people are hung up on taking and receiving. My writing is giving.
Still, I expect that very few people will read what I write. They not only lack a commitment to truth and understanding, they also fear truth.
This is the story of my life. I will tell it through my memories, which will be an honest representation of the facts. I will also provide commentary...my opinions or theories. These theories will make sense as I see it, as well as offer varying possibilities. I will divide them into two categories...(1)editorial...and (2)theory.
They will be paragraphs or chapters which will describe my (1)feelings and perspectives, and insight discovered after I lived this life...plus (2)possible explanations and speculation not yet substantiated by the facts.
My goal here is to provide factual information and possible conclusions, as well as make it easy for the reader to distinguish between truth and editorial. The facts will not have an indicator number. You will be able to draw your own conclusions.
Who Am I
(1)Truth is a simple word. In my life, I found that humanity rarely deals with truth.
Truth requires a commitment not ordinarily found in people. Society has an effect on honesty as well. (2) Ideally, in a perfect society, I would suggest that maybe 25-50% of people can be honest. Today, I estimate that far less than 5% are honest. If you read my "Deal Or No Deal", and you are capable of being objective, you will understand why.
It can be quite likely that a potential reader may choose to not believe the facts.
Truth can be refreshing to an "enlightened" soul, while it may be painful and totally rejected by a soul consumed by the ego. I have formed a theory that helps to explain this. (2) People who commonly "assume" things...maybe even daily...defend themselves from truth. Assumptions take the easy way out...soothing the ego, and require no commitment.
(1)For example...a reader may assume I am non-committal towards truth...as most people are. This reader generally goes through life avoiding difficulty as much as possible, and commonly indulges oneself. A chain smoker is such a person. This person makes quick assumptions based on ease and quits on a quest rather than making a commitment. They choose lying, make excuses as to why they should lie, and blame others.
Or the reader may make a commitment to investigation...which leads to more understanding. An inquisitive mind...a scientific mind...easily makes commitments because it requires little investment. Truth is the goal. Taking the easy way out is a waste of time. Any person who displays his true self through actions, rather than using deceit to hide intentions, is such a person. Those who understand the meaning of life are commonly the ones who examine their individuality and see who they really are.
A scientist does not generally arrive at a truthful conclusion. Instead, he/she offers a summation of the facts...while the conclusion may change many times throughout the future. The conclusion is a separate statement. It is very common for the collective scientific mind to change periodically. So, truth...as it relates to a story...is the ability to state the facts. My goal here is to state the facts, and then provide insightful commentary.
Who Am I
Actions, not words, display intent. People typically contradict their words with their actions. A person who invests years into researching and understanding difficult matters, and then writes about them, has made a commitment through actions.
There was nothing easy about my investment and eventual writing. It is much easier to read, although it is certainly not easy reading. Before I wrote I had to live it and learn it.
A quick perspective of life can be seen in the game of Chess. It describes very well the dynamics of the ego, and how it relates to life.
The pawn represents a commoner, and is limited and predictable, but can do much. The rook represents a chariot...a tool. It can do more than a commoner, but is straightforward and predictable. The knight is a soldier...very skilled and dangerous. The bishop is a powerful controller...doing great damage, but always twisted and at an angle. The queen is most powerful and can do anything, but is not skilled like a knight. The king does little or nothing.
It is the pawn who survives, is freely charitable, lives with realistic goals, and builds the foundation that supports the kingdom. It is the pawn who goes to Heaven...not the powerful. Only when a pawn assumes the role of the powerful, can such a person go to Heaven...and only a pawn who remains a pawn throughout life, survives the ego. Surviving the ego is the purpose of life.
A pawn who remains a pawn, takes care of family and friends, lives each day as a pawn, and remembers who they are...is a chosen one. Giving is a product of living as a chosen one, and those around that person enjoy the benefits...learning to share. Learning is handed down from generation to generation, and life stays simple. Progress is slow and gradual. This kind of life builds a foundation for the future...providing inspiration and guidance.
When a pawn does not have the support of family and friends, it is abandoned.
Our lives are dominated by the masses...who are the product of abandonment.
The ego is a part of life, and once abandonment occurs, it takes hold. Ambition is only one of many corruptions of the soul. Unless a pawn who assumes the role of the other chess pieces...remains a pawn, that person becomes that piece...and is Page 3
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consumed by the ego. True leaders remain pawns.
Today, life is dominated by the ego. Pawns are rarely, if ever, born into the world of our ancestors. That world is gone. Our only chance is to discover the truth...by way of suffering. We cannot change the world. We can only hope to share truth with another.
Well I know...I could be just another stranger, but to you...I guess I'm just another fool.
And you swear...you like to live your life in danger, then you hide behind a wall of silly rules.
Nobody thinks the way I do,
I guess that nobody cares.
Your head's so full of things,
so set your mind free of them.
I'm breaking the rules.
Did you know...that in the truth there's nothing stranger.
I suppose..you think I think I know it all.
Nobody hears the things I say,
I guess that nobody cares.
My head's so full of things that
I set my mind free,
and then I'm breaking the rules.
Well I know...that you would love to go to Heaven, but you know that you're just too afraid to die.
And I know...that you would love to know the answers, but to you...the truth is just another lie.
Nobody hears the things I say,
I guess that nobody cares.
Empty heads...life's full of fools.
Who Am I
Since 1977, I have enjoyed friendship with a pawn. He has always been a popular guy...a true people person. Even though we have not been best friends, and I have not gone out of my way to stay close, Mike seemed to always be around. On more than one occasion, I have done something to ruin the friendship. Mike was the one who made sure we did not part our ways forever.
In the last few years, Mike has saved my life, visited me when no one else has, supported me when I was truly alone, listened to me when no one would, and single-handedly kept me from the evil of the world. He was the only person who has stood by me...and respected me. He also got me out of the psyche ward, when my parents thought they had put me away forever.
Starting quests has been something I do naturally. It is the finishing of those quests that became difficult. I never lacked the inspiration, but what I discovered was that without family, help from a friend is necessary to triumph over evil. Mike provided me with the ability to finish. From what I can tell, Mike did these things only because he felt it was the right thing to do.
(2)It seems unrealistic, but from what I have seen, Mike was able to foil the well-planned intentions of the villains of my life...those who lie without remorse, and seem to have evil motivations...and he did it with very little effort on his part.
This may be an exaggeration, but he did it with a few waves of his hand. I bet he has a few stories he could tell.
Age 4 my earliest memory (Santa Maria, CA) I was outside in the yard, as always. Throughout my life at home with my parents, my one rule was to go outside and stay in the yard. My mom wanted to be undisturbed, as she always stayed in bed until it was time to make dinner before my Dad got home from work. She usually locked the doors. At first my sister (one year older than me) went outside too, but after only a few days she stayed inside too. (1) It may have been because she was a person who made her own decisions rather than follow directions.
Who Am I
There was a boy about my age across the street who usually taunted me because he knew I had to stay in the yard. This day he threw some rocks at me. I picked up a rock he threw and pegged him just under the eye. I was surprised I hit him from so far away. He ran inside his house screaming. A few minutes later his mom brought him over while holding a washcloth on his face. She knocked on our front door until my mom finally opened it. We all went inside and I had to apologize.
They left and I knew I was in big trouble. To my surprise, mom told me it was OK...because "she hated that woman", but not to throw rocks anymore.
Age 5-8 (Saint Louis, MO)
I remember my allergy to cut grass. I remember the hoagie I ate in downtown, as well as the awful brewery smell. I remember the first time I got in trouble for leaving the yard. And I remember a very strange experience...when I had to pee really bad but my sister was in the bathroom (we weren't allowed to use the master bath). I stood in the hallway outside the bathroom door, and the next thing I knew, I was looking down at the puddle on hardwood floor. I don't remember doing it...somehow my mind left for a few seconds.
Age 8-10 (Clearwater, FL)
Fishing. Water. Palmettos. Spanish moss. Sand.
Getting in trouble for staying gone all day. No A/C. The first time I ever went inside a neighbor's home...it had A/C. Wow it was nice. Those old people were so nice...and they liked me. I felt so awkward. I didn't know I was allowed to feel good.
Age 11 (Warner Robbins, GA)
Red clay. Pine trees. The man across the street had a Corvette...wow! In the winter, I walked over a mile to school in 20 degree weather...wearing a sweater. I discovered I am hot natured.
Who Am I
Age 12- (Arlington, TX)
As we were entering Texas on I-20, moving from Georgia, I was listening to the Cotton Bowl game on the radio. It was New Year's Day, 1970. James Street just completed a long pass on fourth and one...near the end of the game. Texas beat Arkansas by one point. I was proud to come back to the state where I was born.
(1)This is where my life evolved from being a naive boy who believed in people, to a person totally alone in despair, and then to a spiritual person completely invested into destiny. It is simple to say the words, but seldom do we witness the actions. Without the suffering, we have little chance to walk the walk...as we would just blend into the background.
During the summer and after school, I was seldom at home. I rarely made it home in time for dinner. I found an old set of women's golf clubs in the garage, and this is when I started playing golf. I would ride my bike, with the golf bag on my back, five miles each way to the golf course. If the weather was bad, or if I had little time, I would ride down to the park...which was less than a mile.
By the time I was 14, I gave up baseball and basketball for golf. I was beginning to get really good at the game. I guess my handicap was around 10 in 9th grade, and 6 in 10th grade. I could beat all but two of the golf team members at my high school (Lamar), but I was not allowed to play, since I was not a member at the local country club....Rolling Hills.
In my junior year, the coach let me be on the team, because we had a new freshman who would turn out to be the best player in the district, and would later win the Texas State Open 4 times in a row...Terry Snodgrass. He was also not a member at Rolling Hills. But, the coach made a "B" team, which could not play in tournaments...and I was the top spot on the B team.
Our coach did not like me at all. I kept after him to let me play. I turned in my scorecards and he threw them away. He was a low-level football coach and couldn't even play golf. I never had the support of my parents, but it didn't bother me because I was used to it. But Larry was my best friend, and I had his support.
Who Am I
I developed a bad attitude because I played with my two best friends...Larry-the number one player at Sam Houston HS, and Roy-the number two player at Lamar.
I didn't usually beat them...but I always kept it close. And I could easily beat most other players. My handicap in 11th grade was about 4...but I was inconsistent with my driver. The rest of my game was as good or better than my friends. The fact that I did not have the support of my parents became very clear, because all the other players did.
My bad attitude was about to hurt me. In the three district tournaments hosted by the Arlington schools (Lamar, Sam Houston, Arlington), the B teams could play...but the scores did not count. I had to play in foursomes with guys who could not break 100. We each kept the scores of one opponent, and it was common for me to have to fight to get my scorekeeper to put down the correct score.
The first tournament I played was the tourny at LB Houston. My score wouldn't count. Coach gave me a ride that day, and of course he was late. When he pulled into the parking lot my group had teed off, but was still on the first tee. I had to run up and hit my tee shot in my street shoes...carrying a ball and my driver. I hit 6
inches behind the ball and my driver bounced up and nicked the ball...sending it into the trees on the right...about 50 yards away.
I got my shoes on, grabbed my clubs, and found the ball. I punched it into the fairway 130 yards from the green. I hit a wedge 15 feet from the hole, and made the putt for par. I had the only par...in fact, no one had better than 6. I told the
"player" who had my card that I parred, and he put me down for a 5. I had to throw down on the second tee...but he pussed out and gave me a 4. I shot 82 that day...knowing that I would have had a 75 or so if I was a team member...with a good attitude and quality opponents.
The second tourny I played was at Grand Prairie. That was one course I could shoot par on. Going into the back nine I think I was one over par, but I gave up trying after I hit a drive OB. I could not maintain a good attitude. I remember that one of our B team players saw me on the 16th hole and asked me my score. I could par out for a 77. I went bogey, double, double instead. I four-putted the last green. I again shot 82.
Coach ran up to me as I walked off the green and said, "77?". I told him 82, and Page 8
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he yelled at me. I had no idea that he had the option in that tournament to throw out one score and use a B team score. As it turned out, a 79 would have put us in a playoff. Long ride home that day. (1) Of course it was my fault...I should know everything.
Towards the end of the school year we had the district tourny at our home course...Lake Arlington. I had shot under par several times there...since that was my home course too. Coach specifically told me up front that he could use my score if he needed to. On the 9th hole I picked up my ball and walked in. I was banned from the team.
That summer I won the Lewisville city junior tournament...a two-day tourny. Larry drove us the first day...him, me, and Roy. I shot 3 over, Larry shot 5 over, and Roy was 7 over... The second day I drove my mom's car. I picked up Roy, and drove to Larry's house. On the last left-hand turn onto Larry's street (Mitchell), I was waiting for a bread truck to turn left...which was also stopped, but was coming the other way...facing me. I gradually drifted to where I could see past the truck, on this four lane road (Collins).
It was clear, but as I started to move this clumsy four door car without power steering or brakes, and having just got my driver's license, a volkswagon beetle was flying up to the bread truck and switched lanes at the last minute...plowing directly into the doors on the passenger side. That beetle was flying. Roy was freaking out. He shot an 86 that day.
I was leading the tournament, and Larry was in third. We played in the final group together. Larry shot one over, and I had my usual one tee shot OB...again shooting 3 over. We tied. Sudden death. The first hole is a par 5, and Larry was laying two, fifty yards short of the green. I busted a monster drive right down the middle, and had a 9 iron for my second shot. I won the playoff.
I carried home two huge trophies...first place in my age division, and medalist. I also carried home a smashed car. This was a huge disappointment for me and my parents, but I remember what Larry said that day...as we drove home. He was very proud of me. He explained why I had a tendency to hit my drives straight right when I'm under pressure...I cup my left wrist at the top of my swing...instead of keeping it locked.
Who Am I
(1)It is hard for me to describe how I felt when I won that tournament. I have always had my feelings subdued, because of the abuse I received from my mom. I stayed away from her, and my feelings...but I always sought the approval of my Dad. He never had words for me, but I could tell through his occasional actions that he cared about me. It would take me another thirty years before I had to dig down deep and pull out those feelings. The suffering would begin.
Next school year, my senior year, I was still banned...even though I was the only person in our school other than Snodgrass to have ever won a tournament. I hadn't planned it at all, but when we had our Homecoming pep rally, I decided not to go. For some odd reason, I had driven my Dad's Plymouth Gold Duster to school that day. Instead, I grabbed my Putt-Putt buddy, Mick, and we went and bought some beer...my first beer.
I drove right over to Rolling Hills, on that Monday (they were closed on Mondays), and went through the parking lot...waving at the greenskeeper . I then drove out toward the gate...but I veered off the road...straight to the #10 green. I did a wonderful and powerful donut around the hole...grass flying up all around. The whole time I was on the green, all I saw was Mick's face. He had the same look Roy had that day we crashed. Then I went back to school.
(2)It would be wonderful to be able to explain the jubilance I felt as I expanded my mind...with grass flying all around me. The truth is, I was not there that day. My only memory was the look on Mick's face. I was somewhere else. My theory is that after I die, I will be able to enjoy those moments when I was free. You might think that the feelings would last me a lifetime...those moments when I wasn't burdened with the guilt I received from my mom. Maybe it is because I am still a victim...she hasn't slowed down...she is just now hitting her stride.
As my short golf career ended, it did not go without meaning. I was charged with vandalism. I remember my Dad dressing up and taking me to Rolling Hills, in front of the board of directors. He cried that day...asking them to drop charges. He always seems to get his way. That was the first time I wondered if my Dad really did care about me.
Who Am I
I lost interest in school when I started the tenth grade. I was more interested in golf, and school was boring. I had no family life, and staying away from home was a top priority. I got out of school at 12:30 in the last two years of high school. I had my first love...Mary. She was an absolute angel. She also had a dysfunctional family, but her mother was devoted to her.
After I graduated high school, I applied for a scholarship (my Dad insisted). I received a letter that rejected my application. One week later I received a letter telling me I had a one semester scholarship (UTA). I went to select my courses and a group of 3 men had them already chosen for me. When I went to Calculus class, I found out all the students were either valedictorians or salutatorians.
I had taken Calculus in high school, but I never gave it any effort. I was in big trouble after my grass donut, and ditched this class before I opened the book. I didn't need the credit to graduate. Our teacher at UTA was a physics major, and told us on the first day that he knew we already knew Calculus and our next class was Physics, which was a bitch. It was two semesters combined into one. We did a chapter each day...five days a week. Yes, a five-hour class. Geez.
I quit going to any of my classes before the second week was over. But UTA was awesome. I spent every day...all day each day...in the recreation room downstairs.
It would be one of the proudest times in my life. We had world-class pinball players and table tennis players. I was the undisputed Pinball Wizard (The Who) machine champion, while the Asians always played the Sky Jump machine. They kept it occupied around the clock on one quarter. It was many weeks before I even got a chance to play it.
I think it was during final exams, but one morning Sky Jump was unoccupied. I had watched closely for weeks as they dominated the machine. They always had the "games left" maxed out at 25. I put my quarter in and after an hour, I was beating it almost every game. Around noon a couple of Asians came in and I had 23 games left...soon to stay at max. I held that machine for about 36 hours. (2) I couldn't understand what they were saying, but I think that was the first time they had respect for an American.
Who Am I
Sky Jump required precision shotmaking skills. There was a target array, but the best shot was to shoot the ball all the way to the top by way of going up through the slot backwards. It was a difficult and long shot. To beat the machine, a player had to hit all the lit-up numbers 1-7, and also the target numbers 1-7. It was not a speed machine like Pinball Wizard, but a precision shot machine.
When I wasn't playing pinball, I was trying to "hold" a ping pong table. We had a top 25 player ranking chart on the wall, and you had to "challenge" and have your challenge accepted to move up. This was also dominated by Asians, and a few other nationalities. There was never more than 5 Americans in the top 25.
One day I played against two Korean brothers and they were outmatched. They were not on the wall, but were good players...and my biggest fans. A couple of days later they gave me a gift. They were very spiritual and generous. I hold the paddle in the Chinese manner...utilizing a high quality American paddle with state of the art rubber. This style only uses one side of the paddle...although I had a unique stroke in which I would "flip" my wrist over and use the opposite side. It was only for show...not competition.
The Korean brothers gave me a high quality Chinese paddle. With it, and some hard work, I made my way up to number five on the wall. Let me offer some perspective...the number one player in America, the California State Champion, played here one week...against our number one. He is a Chinese player, and was the current Texas State Champion. The number five player on the wall who I beat was in the top ten in Texas, a Chinese player.
(1)It was a great college career...although it only lasted one semester. The university offered me a chance to try another semester, but I turned it down. They wanted me to go to class. I took away a great education that consisted of one lesson...I had tremendous respect for Asians...people who are not dominated by ego, and instead, have a family heritage.
I was still 19 years old. I lost my job at Jack-In-The-Box and Putt-Putt. I was still living at home...certainly not because I wanted to...but because I was totally lost. I was no longer engaged, which was a blessing. Of course, at that age...and at that Page 12
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time, I was supposed to be lost. My life is about searching, and where better to begin?
I still hung around with my Putt-Putt friends. I was trying a little high pressure gambling, which was a thrill. It was really fun to go to a course I had never been to and accept the ultimate challenge...to learn the shots, practice them, and then play against the best that course had to offer. Only a fool would take on such a challenge. As trivial as it may seem, I was a Putt-Putt stud.
Of course, that is exactly what the travelling pros have to do...accept a challenge with little or no help. My friends were trying to get me to turn pro. I certainly could have, but that was not in my destiny. So what was my destiny? Well, the immediate short-term plan included me drinking beer. I got drunk for the first time and was dropped off at my house at 7AM one day. I slept most of the day. When my Dad came home from work, he threw me out of the house. I was homeless, but I did have my '68 Camaro.
I didn't know it at the time, but I found out several years later...my mom told my Dad that she caught me with drugs. Now, at 54, I still have never smoked a cigarette, and at that time, I had never done any form of drug. That was my first drunk. None of my friends even smoked. We were either golfers or putters. (1)It may seem really sad to some of you, but I have to say...the best of the best are golfers and putters.
As I drove away, my question was...where do I go now? I went to the Emporium.
That was the pool hall I went to on the one night of the week my old girl friend, Mary, went roller skating. That was her version of breaking up with me. She chose me in the beginning because I was a cut above...and her future. When I quit college...I quit her. One of the few things I did right in my life at that point. I would go to the Emporium and play foosball...and watch the pool studs.
I had a car, and that made me a stand-out. A friend of mine, Randy, hung around me because I had a car. That night, as it turned out, his Mom was out of town for a week. I stayed at their apartment for a few days. I ended up working at the Emporium for a couple of weeks. I got an apartment with a roommate who was also an employee, and that lasted two weeks. I had met Randy's brother, Larry, and he saw potential in me. (1)He was a people user in the extreme.
Who Am I
It had been maybe 4 or 5 weeks since I was thrown out of my parent's house. I had stayed a couple of nights at Larry's apartment that he shared with Steve. They were wanna-be drug dealers. It was a Friday night at the Emporium. I was talking to a girl and a couple of kids I knew came up to me. Most of the regulars there knew I had worked at Good Times doing van seats.
Two guys walked into the Emporium looking for a crew...one being Bobby Martinez. Their crew had walked out on them, and the Emporium regulars knew I had experience. The next day Randy and I went to work at Marshall & Sons. There were two illegals working that day as well, but they only finished out the seats once they were built...putting on arms and sliders. Randy foamed up frames and I pulled seat covers...on the soon to be infamous ForeTravel account.
ForeTravel built high quality RVs, and used high quality components. It was a large plant, and they had a monthly order for driver seats. These seats are cheap seats, but utilize vinyl and cloth supplied by the customer. The vinyl was 3 times thicker than normal and had no stretch, and the velour had almost 1/4" long fibers.
It was like short carpet. We did 32 seats that day, and that would be the single day record for a seat puller on that account...and would never be broken.
Working for Bob Marshall would be the beginning of my life. Marshall & Sons would be quite successful in selling custom vans and seats. He had two new beautiful buildings built side by side in Arlington. That business stood as a symbol for all that is right and wrong with mankind. I was a "clean slate"...knowing very little but willing to learn.
Our crew in the seat shop included Larry, Randy, Mike, Steve, Tony, and me. The van shop had Ken and Bobby...as well as Bob Marshall and Bobby Martinez...the big wheels. Only the big wheels go to jail. I was in charge of the seat assembly portion of the plant, mostly because of three reasons. I could do a better job than Bobby, it would free him up to "play" with Bob, and give them someone to blame.
On Thursdays the two fearless leaders would not be at work. They would instead be preparing for their one day a week job on Thursday night...Pantego police officers. That preparation was to try and down a bottle of liquor. (1)The stories they told of their exploits would make serial killers blush. Ok, maybe more like...want to join. They typically tortured minority families.
Who Am I
I started on a ForeTravel account, so it was fitting that I went out on that same account. I worked all weekend trying to finish the order so it could be delivered on Monday. These seats were so difficult that by the time they were cut and sewn, the deadline was upon us. Plus we had to deliver pedestals with the order. It was difficult to motivate a crew to do the impossible, and then deliver to Waco in a horse trailer.
On Sunday evening we took a break...the three of us that made it that far. We still had a few hours of work left, and then the loading of the trailer. I was driving the company pickup to the store, with my two compadres, and I drove it into a telephone pole. Nice job Wade. I spent the night in a hospital. My employment was over at Marshall & Sons...and just in time. Bobby Martinez would go to jail for arson, and Bob Marshall for attempted murder for hire.
My next stop was a small van company that had two seamstresses and wanted to build seats. I had a broken left elbow, and Larry was my baggage...so I took the job. It lasted two weeks. I managed to tinker with seat design, which I played around with at Marshall. This company didn't last more than two months after we left. We saw that it was a joke before we left.
We then went to New Image Vans. They had a larger seat company started, with several seamstresses and two seat pullers...plus a guy to manage it. The three guys were disco boys, with no experience in seating. The owner's son (Dan) was the product designer and actually was a very smart guy. They were from Michigan.
He had a nice design. I learned a lot just by looking at it. It had serious flaws, because he knew nothing about seating. But he had vision...enough that his van and seat designs had superior potential. This is when I took my job seriously. I stayed late one night and disassembled his prototype and repatterned it...then I cut, sewed, and assembled a new sample seat. It was perfected.
The next day they were impressed and I was their man. Their heads grew three sizes, and they laid out my goals. I designed two more seats and a shop to produce several dozen seats/day. They reviewed my plan and OK'd it. I had no idea that they had no money. A few bad paychecks and my time there was over.
They said I abandoned them, as they went bankrupt and maybe to jail. I didn't hang around to watch them burn.
Who Am I
I was done with van seats...for a while.
In 1979, I had an apartment in Arlington...near Grand Prairie. I got a job at Hoerner-Waldorf...a box factory. I was a helper for a few months until I got a job as the "feeder" on a two-man machine...the 704 Flexo. It was the most advanced machine in the large plant. These large Flexo machines took flat corrugated stock and printed, slotted, folded, glued, and bundled boxes. The operator ran the auto feeder. I ran the stacker, and kept an eye on the finished boxes.
This 704 machine had a state-of-the-art auto feeder, a computer operated set up, and a stacker. The 701 was next to us, and had to utilize a manual feeder and manual setup, but had a stacker. It ran smaller boxes but was very fast. The 704
made larger boxes that previously were done on a slow manual press machine.
The 704 was an important step towards the future. Unfortunately, the plant and department management were not qualified to go into the future.
The lone person who could have shaped the future of the company was the personnel manager. Had he cared about anything beyond himself, he could have helped to shape the future. Instead, he was dead weight...and would protect his job from those who were smarter than him. A new plant manager was hired. He looked and acted like his nickname...little Hitler. His job was such that he never had a chance. He had no idea where to start. My boss, the Flexo department manager was old and near retirement. He never informed me of information an operator should know. He would just give me guidelines that made no sense.
Lloyd was my operator/boss, and after a couple of years, he decided to be a truck driver. This allowed me to be the operator. I did this for almost a year, but never had a feeder. I had to use helpers who were not skilled or trained. I was able to set plant records, doing most of the work myself. Sometimes I just pushed the helper out of the way. One day, little Hitler came out and shook my hand while I was operating the stacker. He had been watching me and told me "good job".
One day I was doing a Chlorox box in which the salesman had sold them on the idea that the print would be saturated in color and very sharp. The plant manager and salesmen had no idea how to operate a Flexo. The department manager Page 16
Who Am I
didn't know much, and cared even less. This box was large and my machine was the only one capable of making the box in large quantity. There were a few problems in manufacturing this box. Since it was a new account, it should have been run on the old manual press.
Since the order was huge (another mistake), they chose to let me run it on the 704. I knew enough that I saw up front there were problems. There was no one for me to go to. My only choice was my department manager...who was a fool. I knew we could not run a large order and have clear sharp bright saturated print. We would have to stop the machine every ten minutes, break it down, and manually clean the print dies with wet rags.
The viscosity of the ink was critical. Too thin (watered down), and the print was washed-out looking. Too thick, the ink would become tacky and stick to the die edges. Then the paper dust would stick to the dies and make the print illegible.
Every time we stopped the machine and cleaned the dies, the ink would get thicker. The machine had a design flaw...it needed to automatically adjust the viscosity of the ink. To adjust the viscosity, I had to add water, let the ink cycle for 5 minutes, and then run some boxes. Then I would have to add more. And after ten minutes, once I got it right, I had to do it all over again.
We ran these Flexos 24 hours with 3 shifts. In a poorly managed operation, 3
shifts makes it impossible. When I came in, the machine was always set up wrong...and the folder would jam up. I had to redo the setup. My idiot boss would fight with me over that...and there was no one for me to go to.
(1)The future of the company would depend on learning from mistakes...because the mistakes were inevitable. Even with my good attitude, I lost hope. After I left, the company sold out. How I lasted as long as I did was a testament to my patience...although I'm not sure I was ever that patient again.
I met Pauline while working at the box factory. She moved in with me. She had been homeless and had some emotional problems. We became friends, and soon she was my girlfriend...although I needed her to "grow" to the point of earning my respect. She was never able to speak in a normal fashion. The only reason I stuck with her was she had no place to go.
Who Am I
Pauline and I would be together for several years. I had hope that she would be able to communicate, but she never did. I don't know what had happened to her to make her who she is, but I found out 25 years later that she would blame me for everything. As it turned out, she would play a major role in my suffering. She was still selfish and obsessed with her ego. Everything happens for a reason.
True Comfort Mfg
In 1982, I was approached by Larry with the idea that his roommate and I should be partners and start a business. Larry was unemployed and needed a job. He also wanted to establish value in himself. He arranged a meeting with the three of us as well as a few others. I knew enough to ask the right questions. I didn't know that I had to protect myself again.
When we started True Comfort Mfg, Danny was my partner and the up front money man. He was going to be office manager while I ran the operation outside the office. He only had to invest $6000, but had to quit his job and work full time. I knew I didn't have the time to do the business side of the operation...at least in the beginning.
We moved into an industrial area next door to the richest family in the van business...BDR Vehicles. Danny didn't do anything, and never came to work after the first day. He told me he was the owner and didn't have to work if he didn't want to. I told him to go look for a job. So I had to do everything.
I hired a seamstress, and Larry and I built the shop. Larry became my shop foreman, and I spent my time designing products, trying to acquire fabrics, and making sales calls. I was able to pick up some small customers. One was a man named Tom Bessett. He was a former car salesman who paraded as a salesman for a ficticious company. He knew some people, which is all you need in America.
Know some people and tell huge lies.
Mister Bessett was able to utilize our seat design to build custom vans on other people's money. They sold as fast as he could build them. He later became the owner of Tra-Tech...the largest van company in the world. Welcome to America.
Who Am I
We had Bill a few weeks later. He came from the box factory. I knew he was not very bright, but would be a dedicated employee. He stayed with us the entire time.
Bill was a very dedicated employee.
I built some prototypes and talked to BDR (Travelmaster). They liked the idea of having a seat built to their specifications. In just a couple of weeks, we had everything we needed to make this work. We were a tiny manufacturing facility but would soon expand to having 8 sewing machines. My seat design was comparable in appearance to the more expensive seats, but also had some superior designing. We doubled our square footage by renting the adjacent space.
The day before I was going to sign a contract to sell part of the business to BDR, which would solidify my future and make me a rich and successful man, my Dad (who I haven't spoken to for years) walked in my door and asked me how much money it would take to buy out my partner and not sell. He wrote me a check for $6600 and left. This was the decision that guaranteed my future failure. I have never been able to refuse my Dad...one of the major dominating themes of my life.
Since I was going to be on my own, I had a constant problem with fabrics. I had to buy it in lots of seconds, because you had to have a line of credit and contract to buy from the mills. America requires manufacturers to do business that way because of the corporation. That imaginary entity allowed all sorts of irresponsible and illegal behavior to not only dominate the market, but allow crooks to corner that market. Goodbye Free Will.
One such corporation was Metal Specialties...our frame supplier. The owner, Jim Fleming, came to me one day and offered to give me an open line of credit and $30,000 of free frames...as long as I didn't sell out to another company. He knew he could trust my word, so we did it on a handshake. I later found out it was because he was starting his own seat business, and he was afraid of competing against me...if I sold out. He had learned from people like Tom Bessett and embraced the disgraces of the corporation.
In 1984, True Comfort was doing quite well. I had a customer (Neil Cypert) write two dozen bad checks to me. My bank did not notify me about my customer's bad checks or my bad checks, and for 3 weeks all my checks bounced...totalling 42
checks. I had to go all over the Hispanic side of Fort Worth picking up my checks.
Who Am I
I only found out because my employees told me...the bank never sent me any notice of any kind. My bank had sent my customer's checks for collection and never told me. I went to the bank and by that time, $14,000 had been paid and I closed my accounts. They gave me $14k in cash. I lost over $30,000 and was forced out of business.
I met Carole through her brother, who worked for me at the end of my True Comfort era. I fell in love with her right away. Although I could sense she was messed up, I recognized her potential. She had a powerful aura, and she was beautiful. It was not her beauty that attracted me...that was what usually scared me away from women. It was her independence...her ability to be unique...the way she accepted challenges. She had the confidence and stride of a champion, but with grace and dignity. She pulled all of this off while staying a quiet humble person. She and I had much in common.
I was over at her apartment one day, and she left to go to the store. Right after she left, Pauline walked in the door. Apparently she had been stalking me for weeks. I was shocked, and stood speechless. I told her to go away, but she didn't say anything. I got to the point of shouting at her...nothing. Thirty seconds later Carole walked in. That was the end of our relationship. I think the fact that Carole came back kept me from hitting Pauline. I hate to think how that would have gone.
A year and a half later, I walked into Wilt's pool hall and Carole was there with friends. After about 15 minutes, she walked over to me. She told me her brother had joined the Navy and was killed on a motorcycle. I told her right then I wanted her back. We were together again.
I found a job in Haltom City. It was an auto upholstery shop run by a man and he had a helper. I was hired to operate a sewing machine and fabricate seat covers. I worked there for two months and then the owner and I had a disagreement on quality options as they relate to materials. He said, "if you want to make decisions then buy it from me". I replied with OK. A month later, Carole bought it from him.
Who Am I
I didn't know prior to this that Carole had money. She had inherited when her brother died. We financed a portion ($15k) of the purchase price, which we paid off in two years. The entire ten years that we ran the company, we gave a two-year warranty and never had a warranty claim. We never used aftermarket materials...only OEM. I bought close-outs and overstocks on OEM fabrics and vinyls from the local suppliers. We had an impressive inventory...which is the only way to do quality work at a reasonable price.
Carole and I worked hard to make this a stand-out high quality mom and pop shop...the type of shop we respected...a pillar in the community. She had the intelligence and initiative to take responsibility for her job. She was able to provide sales ability which helped expand into a new market. She was also able to begin her secret life at that time.
Carole had been in charge of running the office while I was busy running the shop.
She would speak to customers, and was good at selling. She would also call potential fleet accounts and she eventually became successful at securing fleet accounts. She got the city of North Richland Hills, FedEx, Coca-Cola, Coors, Pepsi, city of Fort Worth, Budweiser, and the USPS.
We refurbished driver seats for these accounts. Not only did we refurbish them, but we improved them. We removed design flaws and utilized better fabrics and vinyls. My truck seats, forklift seats, and cushions outperformed and outlasted the originals. Plus, my competitors who refurbished seats did the exact opposite. They would use poor quality aftermarket supplies from the suppliers. My supplies came from manufacturers, and my fabrics were overstock "originals' from the suppliers.
The USPS became our best account because of the volume, and also because the seats were of such poor quality. I replaced the springs with a better system, spot-welded the lumbar supports...which were riveted, added a lumbar support to the back foam, and modified the bottom foam. These refurbished seats lasted 3-5
years, as well as eliminated driver complaints and back injuries. We also did the same thing for FedEx.
One day an employee came back from lunch and told me I needed to go home right now. We only lived two blocks away at that time. He said he drove by and saw Carole in the driveway with another man. I told him that I wasn't worried about Page 21
Who Am I
it. He thought I was nuts. I said, "If she wants someone else then she can have him". I was able to trust Carole, even though I knew about her infidelities. She was busy most of the time with Chris, and I was busier than her, so I wasn't worried about her. Carole was more important to me...than me.
Our company defined honor in America. We kept integrity alive a few years longer, while the rest of the world focused on money. It became obvious after about 8
years that we needed to make a change, but I tried to do it out of our shop. The problem was that our location did not support a strong retail business, and our building was inadequate for wholesale. After two more years, we bought 3 acres and moved to the country.
Innovative Seating Solutions
We bought a two bedroom house with a 20x30 metal shop. It had a concrete foundation, but was not insulated. We took out a $21K home improvement loan and added on to make it 20x60, plus insulated and air conditioned it. I brought in 100 loads of topsoil and bought a tractor. I redesigned the layout of the land, fenced it, and built a large flower garden.
I did custom work for local retail customers, plus refurbished for many fleet accounts. Carole was free to take Chris to school and live her secret life...although she did help with business accounts for the first two years. Coca-Cola, FedEx, the USPS, the city of NRH, and the city of FW were our best customers. I specialized in big truck driver seats, forklift seats, the unique seats that FedEx and USPS
used, as well as pickup seats.
After about five years of refurbishing seats for the USPS LLV (long life vehicle), we designed our own seat. The USPS required testing of the seat components, as well as crash testing of the finished seats. We spent $60k on tooling, testing, and supplies. The fleet manager of the Fort Worth VMF location was also the purchasing manager of the five state area. He was the first person I talked to about manufacturing a better seat. We had his full support the entire time.
After about six months of preparation, we began manufacturing. After two weeks of delivering our seats, the Fort Worth VMF (vehicle maintenance facility) told us they could no longer buy our seats. The Fort Worth fleet manager lost his job.
Who Am I
Austin kept buying our seats, as well as two locations in Michigan and a location in Georgia. None of the remaining 180 plus locations would talk to us. I had tried for a couple of years to talk to the fleet manager of the Houston location. I wrote to him many times. He just ignored me.
We spent several months writing to USPS management in Washington. We contacted Senators. We got the run around from all of them for over a year. My efforts ended when I received a visit from two men...one was a Postal investigator, and one was a Secret Service agent. They did the good cop/bad cop routine on me...threatening me and my family. It was pointless to continue, but I did make them listen to my product demonstration and reviews about driver seats for an hour.
My competition was a company who had a long history of supplying the military in foreign installations. They were no longer needed in Guam, or other locations. So, they were given the LLV as compensation. What had been a formal bidding process, where fair practices governed the business dealings, became a monopoly. Wheeler Brothers would end up manufacturing every part for this vehicle. They systematically bought all the competitors or put them out of business, until they had control of everything...including Senators and federal agencies.
One day the Houston fleet manager called me. He was asking about the possibility of installing adjustable lumbar supports in his seats...or if we had a seat with one. He told me he had two lawsuits involving back injuries. We had dealt with that problem on a national level when we got our seat approved. I explained that he didn't need an adjustable lumbar gimmick. I had solved that problem years ago. He ordered two of our seats.
Two weeks later he called again. His problems had ended. It was bad timing. Had he dealt with me before, I would have had more ammunition in fighting Washington. Now, I had to tell him I cannot continue to build the seats. I had already filed for bankruptcy, and my marriage was ending. He tried to persuade me to stick with it...telling me he had been dealing with this organized crime for decades, and that they could not touch him. My giving up was the right thing to do.
Who Am I
This was just another chapter of my life. At the time I did not realize that this was supposed to happen this way. Success was not an ally, but was the enemy.
Suffering had always been my destiny.
My brother David called me. He asked me if I would be interested in doing aircraft interiors for him. His partner kept over 20 airplanes in stock (Mooneys) and David bought and sold 3-4 planes at a time. Most of the planes he bought needed refurbishing. He had enough experience to know the market for planes that would sell quickly and be profitable.
He wanted me to move to San Antonio permanently. I was about to make a major life change anyway, and this seemed like a nice challenge. I left everything for Carole because I knew I could start over and reinvent myself. She had her job that was progressing well, so having a house that was worth a lot and only a little left on the note, along with plenty of money in the bank...meant that she would have a great chance to get her life going.
When I got to San Antonio, I found out that David was not concerned about my welfare...only his. He wasn't willing to pay me much at all, and I had to live in the actual hangar...which was only 400 yards off the main runway of San Antonio International Airport. I set up my sewing machine and tool box in the corner of the hangar, which had a tiny office above it.
It took two weeks to get the certified materials that we ordered, so I had time to make the tables I needed and change the flourescent bulbs in their large office. I had everything running smoothly, but before the first two weeks was over, he was already complaining. He is a high pressure salesman, and tactics are his method.
He called me a high priced bulb changer. Yes, my $250/week was a boatload.
When the huge jets landed, the building would shake and the noise was incredible. They quit landing at 3 AM, and started back up at 7 AM. I could only get 4 hours of sleep. David's partner Jimmy was a very nice guy and seemed to always be on my side. He was a very reasonable man. It was quite the challenge for me, but Jimmy gave me hope. The reason I stuck with it was because I had the opportunity to design the custom interiors.
Who Am I
Jimmy had married into one of the richest families in the country...the McLanes.
They own many things, one of which is the McLane trucking company. That is why David was there...to use Jimmy as he uses everyone else...including me.
David made my job, and life, as difficult as possible. I had to pull the complete interior out of the planes and work on them while the planes were in the paint shop. I had to learn about the certifications and material sources, as well as the supplies and fasteners. When the planes came back, it was up to me to finish them as fast as possible. Living in the hangar, and not sleeping, gave me the ability to do the impossible.
I lived in that hangar for 4 months. The last 2 months, I had an apartment in town.
David was a real asshole, but he eased up once I completed my first plane and he sold it. He had money trouble in the beginning, and had to rely on his partner. But I was able to complete 2 Cessna 340s, and he sold them fast. I did the interior on 3
Mooneys and Jimmy was happy too.
The trouble started when I wanted my salary doubled...which was still less than half of what I was worth. David was playing high roller while I was living in the hangar. He bought two Saratogas, and right after he got them, a Saratoga crashed somewhere. That meant that his planes would be grounded for a few months. It was going to cost him. He decided to make it even harder for me.
He convinced his partner that I needed to be a separate company from theirs.
Jimmy had a hangar that was only used for storing planes because the hangar across from them had a Lear Jet that started up each morning. It would sit with the engines running and blow fumes directly into the hangar...making it unusable each morning until noon. I would have to work at night.
David bought a 421 Cessna and I was more than halfway done with it when Carole called...asking me to come home. He had his future wrapped in that plane because the Saratogas were still grounded. I drove the ten hour drive back to Springtown to see Carole and I was only there for 30 minutes. She and I got into an argument and she threatened to call the police...like she had done before.
Another ten hours on the road.
While I was there, I saw that she had done nothing to take care of the property.
Who Am I
Chris would not say anything to me. When I got back to San Antonio, David was panicking. His financial future was dying. I knew I would have to make this my last plane for David. I had a meeting with him and told him that I wanted $6000 to finish the plane and I was leaving. He called the police and had me removed.
I spoke to Carole and told her I would give her a lot of money and she could move out. I would clean up the property and take it back. I was allowed back into the hangar to get my tools and equipment. David had paid $8000 to get the plane finished, and told more lies to Jimmy...who did not like me at all. When Jimmy found out that I had offered to do it for less, he was angry at David for lying.
David had a short meeting with me in which he told me the 421 was one of the best interiors and designs in the business. He also told me that he had made a lot of money off me...while all along he told me he was losing big bucks. He lies constantly, and has no actual integrity, yet he maintains an image of integrity. My exact counterpart. He talks the talk...I walk the walk.
David's career at San Antonio soon came to an end.
The beauty of the spirit is within all of us. It is in our memories...even if those memories are prettier than the truth. It is in our potential...in those moments in our lives when things didn't matter...when money didn't exist...when our parents didn't abuse us or neglect us...when tomorrow wasn't a burden. It is in the trust we lost long ago.
True love involves the spirit...which has the potential to be a daily routine in the reality we are obsessed with. It could be what we are born into, what we awake to each day...the essence of our material existence, and how we share each moment. Instead, we have the burden of survival. The spirit is lost.
Our perception is an illusion, based in reality...never giving us a break. It always pulls on us...grabbing at our core. It allows us to find something we want...something that takes away the fear we hid and forgot...and embrace an obsession. Reality is failure, because no matter what we do, the only true reality never presents itself. That is the gift we receive from the world...fear.
Who Am I
The material world is a balance of positive and negative energy. If we take away some of the positive, the remaining negative instantly finds something positive to attach to...and neutralize. History has proven that the world changes, and currently we have not attained a position that allows us to avoid this change. In the past, we had civilizations with balance...and at some point in the future, we will again.
Reality is a temporary setback which we cannot avoid, but we can endure. If we choose to not identify with reality, and to find the beauty of the spirit, then we have faith. Faith was intended to support our beauty. It was supposed to be an endowment...a gift from those who are responsible for us. Faith is real and is eternal, and was once a gift from our parents, maintained with help from friends.
God, the "Artist", created the universe. He established Free Will. This was intended to allow us to reach our goals...our future. The spirit has a sanctuary...within his Free Will. The spirit is within all of us, and is a piece of God.
It is the soul, and it is eternal. It is who we are, and it is free to endure.
The corporation is an imaginary entity that removes Free Will...a temporary setback for humanity. It embodies the choice to forget who we are...where we came from...and who we will be. Faith is our birthright, but until we get beyond our current condition, we have only the ego. I had to leave the material world to understand...even though it was my destiny to seek truth my whole life. With an ego attached, I had no chance...no one does. Our only tool is the faith we have been denied.
Forgiveness is an act of grace, but it is not given. It is received. The only true forgiveness is a gift from us to ourself. We never have to forgive another. We only have to see the beauty of the spirit. That is our quest...to forgive ourselves enough that we can see...to see the beauty of the spirit we love...not loved, because the love never ends.
Faith. Forgiveness. Love. Any of these things destroy the barrier...the ego. But reality...supported by the negativity that remains when the positive was removed, overwhelms us. And all we have to do is have faith, forgive ourselves, and love another...and we leave this world without ego. We have to leave this world without ego, or we will be back again...to suffer more. Maybe 99% of people who die will be back.
Who Am I
More than thirty years ago, I was given the chance to leave the material world...to see the truth...all of the truth in the universe. When I came back, I couldn't remember all the truth I discovered, but I never forgot how I felt. It was pure ecstacy. And now, one year ago (2010), I was given that chance again...to see the truth firsthand. Again, I cannot remember...but I was reminded how I felt long ago.
I was among friends, and the truth surrounded me...exactly the same way. I still had the faith, and for the first time...I had forgiveness.
What I felt most of all, was the love...not one born out of a weak spirit, or a strong ego...not a falsehood born from compromise. We accomplished our goal thousands of years in the past, but the science of the world is unstable and incomplete. In the future faith will happen again, after we have again built a world with the ego under control. I remember where my faith is, where my forgiveness is, and where my love is.
My love is a beautiful woman...one I never deserved. She is a very strong soul, has faith in herself, and forgives herself. Her light is so intense, that I had no choice but to see it. She sacrificed herself so that I would learn the truth...and remember the faith. She made sure that I could forgive myself...and embrace suffering...so I would not have to do it again. She will be back...that was her sacrifice...and it will not be up to me to find her..and rescue her. I have to let go...so she can save another.
My love is true love, just as strong as it began...almost 27 years ago...except now it has a foundation of strength. I have no worries. I have no fear. I can relive each moment in my life...knowing my spirit was pure...my sacrifices were real...my intent was honest. What once began as a mystery, and never seemed secure, is now a reality. I just wasn't able to be who I was meant to be. I am forgiven.
I know the act of saving will not always be one person at a time, but for now I can live with that. And I know because I have a love...a hero. I was made tough...through her strength. I was made to survive suffering...even when I didn't want to. I have strength, although it is weak compared to her's. My life's burden was truth...but I am able to get it done...and soon I will be done.
I am still at work. I have no idea what I am doing...but I have faith it will be done. I have had so many villains...but I have the gift of strength..of forgiveness...of love.
Who Am I
My hero knows who she is.
Life After Carole
I drove back to Springtown. The ragweed was ten feet tall...over the entire property. It took me a week to mow it all down. Within a couple of weeks I had it all looking normal again. For the next year, I did several nice custom interiors. One was a '53 Ford PU, a '67 Firebird, a Porsche 912, and an old panel wagon. I also did a complete interior on a Cessna 340...go figure.
I still serviced Coca-Cola and FedEx. I really had it made. One day I had my credit card processing company investigate me for fraud. I have no idea how that happened, but with my past, it wouldn't be hard to speculate. Once they finished, and there was no fraud, they charged me $500 for the investigation. Right then, I had had enough. I called them and canceled my business with them...and quit taking credit cards. I lost all my fleet accounts, but it was worth it.
My next door neighbor in Springtown had moved out and left the house to their daughter. She had a live-in boyfriend. One day they had a family party and my old neighbors were there, along with the boyfriend's large family. They came over and invited me to eat and drink with them. I found out that night that that boyfriend's uncle was the former fleet manager at the local USPS VMF (vehicle maintenance facility). The same man who lost his job when I was starting to manufacture driver seats for them.
I apologized to them for what had happened. They replied by saying that I could tell him myself...he was on his way over. When he showed up, he was wearing really nice clothes and had lots of gold jewelry. He avoided me for an hour, but just before he was leaving, he came over to me. I apologized. He replied by telling me that he didn't get fired. They paid him off. He is now a millionaire.
(1)I decided to start dating. A person might think it was the normal thing to do.
Actually, my life was going too well, and I had no chance to screw it up. So, dating was the best way to blow the whole deal. How else am I going to get to the place I was supposed to go? The suffering cannot end. Yes, I started internet dating.
Who Am I
I dated a blonde "hottie" from Plano for a couple of months. Her name was Schumpert. She had been adopted from a hospital with that namesake in Shreveport, and her new mother named her after it. She had a daughter that was six years old, and was divorced. She asked me to marry her and I told her no. I gave her plenty of good reasons why I would not. So, a few weeks later she planned the wedding in the Arkansas mountains.
(1)Now it is certainly obvious that something is wrong. A woman I don't know very well, named Schumpert. She makes 150K a year and has a masters degree in psychology, but knows nothing about it. She "faked" her way to a Masters degree...was her explanation. Why not? Her mother was one of those nutcases who got everything she wanted. She spoiled her daughter to a point where she had no conscience. It was not like I didn't see it coming.
We drove the whole way there, and the little girl was so excited. It was a beautiful place on the lake...and a nice cabin. That night, as we lay in bed, we were both thinking. I was waiting for something that I knew was going to happen. I just didn't know what it was going to be. She said, "After we get married, are you going to treat me better?"
(1)Well sure, I played the role of a fool, and I am the picture that pops up when you Google "fool", so why shouldn't she start in before we even tie the knot. I am going to marry a girl named Schumpert, who has a little girl that I know has problems, and even though I am a fool...I ain't stupid.
The next morning was the day before our wedding. I waited for her to wake, and then told her I was not marrying her. I walked out of the cabin and to the lakeside.
She wrapped herself up in a blanket and ran after me...begging me to marry her.
Oh, did I mention I am telling the truth? We had a long and quiet drive home that day.
Two weeks later she shows up at my house one night. She gets down on her knees and begs me to marry her. She tells me she needs me to help her get her life together, and take care of her daughter. She confided in me that her little girl was neglected and had a therapist. I agreed to date her some more and spend time with her daughter. Why not...my life is ripe for a spoiler.
Who Am I
A couple of months later, after I had spent quite a bit of time with her daughter, I agreed that she needed me. I laid out conditions, and she agreed. I told her I would not work a job, but would do home repairs and fix her daughter...but she would have to open up and tell me everything. I told her to quit her high pressure job and take a pay cut...from 150K to 110K. You don't have to be worth a damn to make 100K.
I sold my house and cleared a boatload of cash. It was getting lonely out in the country, and I felt as if I had some value. I had a piece-work family that seemed to be heading somehwere. We got married in a courtroom. Things were going quite well. I had things progressing and got to a point where I thought I was ready to think about a career. That was...until...Schumpert made plans.
We visited her mother and father in Shreveport. I quickly saw that I had failed to tie up all the loose ends. Her Mother...Darthette Vader. Her father was on oxygen, and her Mother was taking care of him. We stayed in their home a weekend and that was all I needed to understand. She was jealous. We had a nice talk on the drive home...about her Mother. I am not the only person with a cartoon villain as a mother. It was starting to make sense.
The next time we went out to eat, we went to the Macaroni grill. I had never been there before. It was crowded, and Schump went to the ladies room. I was holding her daughter's left hand in my right, and she looked up at me and smiled...reaching around with her right hand and grabbed me. Let me make this clear...she grabbed my sack...while looking up at me with a huge smile. I was speechless for the entire meal. We had a family discussion that night at home.
A few days later her father died. How convenient. A few days later Schumpert presented me with divorce papers, and the $26K I had invested into paying off her bills. Her Mother was moving in. I had completed my task, and her daughter needed protection from the truth. And, I needed to get out of Dodge before I go to jail. It was all good. I made some progress, and I needed to pave a path for more suffering. I had enough inspiration to become a writer.
As I write about Schumpert, I am surrounded by imposing destiny. I sense the concept of forgiveness. She taught me how to forgive myself...because if I hadn't married her, I would still feel unique...and alone. Forgiving has prepared me to Page 31
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take the next step.
I started writing back when I was breeding daylilies. I was attracted to the breeding because of the "blank canvas" that the breeding offered, and the results had such staggering potential. I became obsessed with daylilies, but not for those reasons.
It was the irresponsible inbreeding perpetrated by man...which created a flower that could not stay alive without extreme chemical treatments.
I suffered a staggering loss due to my obsession. Little did I know at the time, it was intended to inspire me into writing. I was so bad at it, and it was so difficult...I would never have done it without some obsession and a worthwhile cause. Leave it to mankind's commitment to the ego to subliminally inspire me. I started writing because I was attracted to the lost cause...defending righteousness against the ego. How alluring it was for man to profit by exploiting that which is innnocent combined with unlimited potential.
I tried to write online...defending innocence against corruption. No chance at all to achieve a goal, but also a great chance to make this a long and drawn out learning process. I was so bad at getting my point across. I tried to start writing...finish...and then post it online..all at one time. For me, it doesn't work that way. It took me a year to figure that out.
At that point, daylilies are all in the past, and I am no longer writing...but it is different. I had inspiration...not from pursuit of a cause, but from an unknown source causing to me make a commitment to myself. I was no longer writing to someone else. It started with an attempt to write things down so I would remember. I discovered my writing technique. Rather than thinking and planning...I just felt it and wrote it. I now call it the "rough draft".
It was not uncommon to wake up in the middle of the night and write...and go back to bed in tears. I knew that what I wrote made sense at the time, but later I would have time to put it in perspective. Sometimes I could rewrite it the next day and be done...sometimes it may be a year or two later. As I became comfortable with my
"rough draft inspiration" technique, I also developed my writing style. I found that I should be able to read what I have written and revisit the moment I was inspired...even years later.
Who Am I
I moved out of Plano and into a rental house in Saginaw. There was a natural gas well in the field behind the house...only about 75 feet away. I bought nice furniture and other stuff. For the next year and a half, I would write. After a few months, I was in the kitchen, and my ears popped. From that day forward, my ears never stopped ringing. Several years later, I saw the movie "Gas Land". The first symptom from natural gas poisoning is ringing in the ears...and Fort Worth is one of the worst places in the world...to live.
I finished my first version of DOND, and wanted to end my life. I was trying to plan how I would do it. Then came the flood...how biblical. Yes, the great flood. My last month in that house I was dealing with drying out the walls because of the foot deep water. Never mind that it is not in a flood plain. This is America...we just do unto others and have enough money to defend the lawsuits. If you are going to be successful at it, you must form a corporation and buy some politicians. Ah, how wonderful the ego is when there is no conscience, and money is the reward. Oh, to Hell with money, power is the reward.
How perfectly fitting it is when you attempt suicide by carbon monoxide poisoning, and there is 0% CO in vehicle exhaust...and how better to start evolving into a person who has no worldly possessions? Why not move in with Harold?
One of the most important chapters of my life taught me about the pitfalls of being human. It wasn't a concept, as I lived it daily. It wasn't a feeling, because it slapped me in the face. It wasn't a theory, because a theory doesn't come with the taste of despair. It was a learning experience that came as a total surprise. I had no idea that the ego was a tangible and formidable part of reality...the definition of reality...as it relates to man.
Sure, my life had been about suffering for a very long time. I just never absorbed it. I went on with my life. I tended to dwell on these things, but each time I started a new quest, I filed the crap away and forgot about it. This time I dealt with it on a level that would stay with me...giving me something to write about.
Harold is a guy I wanted to call a friend, but he was more of an acquaintance. The more I tried to be friends, the more reason I had not to be. He was obviously trying Page 33
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to make a subtle point, but he is the type of guy who seems to enjoy it when you can't understand him. Each time he displayed just how twisted he was, I tried to find a way to establish that he wasn't. I apparently didn't want to believe he was.
What I know now is that it was never about Harold...it was about me understanding the depth of despair the ego can inflict upon a person. What bothered me the most, and still does...is that I could do nothing to help.
I guess Harold was prompted to invite me into his home. Or maybe it was an empty offer that I was supposed to decline. The thing was...I had no choice. Even though I gave him most of the nicest things in his house, he seemed to think that I owed him something. The entire time I was there, I was trying to find a way to help him. I have never met a person who needed help more.
I don't remember how many months I was there, or the exact circumstances, or if he spent money on me or not. I think he mostly just had to tolerate me being there. I did extensive remodels on his two pathetic bathrooms in his ancient house, and cleared out his backyard shop that was inaccessible because of the wall-to-wall junk that was packed inside. Everything I did for him was a worse case scenario. The bathrooms would have cost him way more than it did, and the shop had never been used in the many years he was there...simply because of neglect.
Yes, a part of me is still confused. With Harold, there are no answers. He refuses to participate. He has his own agenda and seems to never vary. Considering my parents, my wives, and the US government...the Harold chapter was much more of the perfect situation to teach me what I needed to know. In all other chapters of my life, there were variables...and perspectives...and unknowns. With Harold, it was a very simple stand-off between me and his ego.
He made it clear on a daily basis that he was better than me...cared nothing for me...and that I was a poor example of humanity. I can do nothing right. What made everything worse was the fact that I would not give up on Harold. I seldom gave up on a challenge. Even when I moved out...I moved in next door. I was not about to quit on a quest...one that was so blatantly laid out for me. The fact that I failed on my quest to help Harold is still an enigma.
Yet, I learned one of the most valuable insights in my life...the truth...etched in my existence...about the human ego. I know it as well as I can know anything. I am starting to understand the spiritual value of suffering.
Who Am I
I moved into the house next door to Harold. I am not sure how many months I stayed there. I spent some of my time writing. I tried my hand at a few odd jobs. I did some mowing with Mike. I remodeled the bathroom in this house, and made some repairs. I think I spent most of my time thinking about dying. I was not accomplishing much.
I would soon give away almost everything I own...and take on another quest. I still had much to learn.
I am still not clear on the dates of the incidents that transpired in 2010, when my parents intervened...by taking away everything that I own, and casting me into the world with little or nothing...including the brain I once had. I was homeless at the age of 19, when they told me to get out of their house. Being homeless again is just another challenge.
I have never been afraid of harm to myself. Somehow I have had faith in my abilities, while all along my faith was not the result of anything I did. It seems to have been inside of me all along...waiting for me to figure it all out. So, being homeless another time would not stop me. Losing my ability to use my brain would not stop me. I just point myself in a direction and go.
In June 2010, my Dad called me. He asked me to donate one of my kidneys to my mom. He said he had arranged for me to work in the pro shop at the Pinnacle Club...the golf course in which they live on the 16th hole. The course is located on Cedar Creek Lake, near Mabank Texas. He said I would live in their house permanently.
I would have to give away all of my stuff, or sell it. All I could take would be my truck and some tools...and of course my golf clubs. I would not be responsible for any bills other than those I create on my own. The small amount of income I would have would be enough to let me clothe myself and play golf. I could always get another job nearby if I wanted more money.
So I did not hesitate. Any opportunity to help another person is my destiny...no matter how it works out for me. I gave all my stuff away...to the people closest to Page 35
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me who needed it. Some I gave away to friends...knowing that they would find someone who needed it. My big screen TV, high dollar king size bed with matching chest and dresser, two leather recliners, expensive oak table with swivel reclining chairs, stereo and speakers, large tool boxes with many of my tools, large refrigerator, lawn mowers, bookshelf, DVDs, furniture, washer/dryer, fine artwork, computer, and much more.
I kept my sewing machines and other upholstery items in Harold's backyard shop.
I drove to Mabank and then my parent's house. The first thing I noticed was that my mom did not appear to be sick. No problem. I don't dwell on incidentals. I will make the best of any situation. I was looking forward to getting myself in shape...along with my golf game, meeting Mister 58...my boss, and finding out what was in store for me.
I jogged 4 or 5 days a week, depending on my work schedule. Working in the pro shop was easy. My golf game was getting better. My handicap was 3. This course is not my style...it has narrow fairways, lots of rough and trees...and you can't hit a driver often. I had several new stylish golf shirts and hats. I was getting to know all the people. My parents were easy enough to get along with, and my mom wasn't sick at all.
Only one player gave me any competition, but he wasn't a member. He would play once or twice a month, and he played very slowly. One day I commented to the pro that there was no one for me to play. He made a phone call and said they will be here in 45 minutes. Sure enough, 45 minutes later two guys walked up to the pro shop. One was a tall body-builder type...a real stud. The other was shorter, but still a tough looking guy. They were the pro's "hired guns" as I call em.
The tall guy drove the green on the first hole, and birdied. He also drove the third green and birdied. Between the two of them, they birdied the first five holes. I never had a birdie all day. I beat one by five strokes, and the other by six. They were not happy campers. The only comment they had was that I had a good short game. But, they were nice enough and fun to play with.
All was good. Then one morning I woke up in my bed. "Wade, you have had a seizure", my mom said. There was a whole day missing. I was as healthy as I have ever been. I was a perfect weight, perfect blood pressure, jogged a lot, no Page 36
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trouble sleeping, ate better than I ever have, was active every day, and had a great attitude. From this day on, that all changed.
Apparently I had been to the hospital the day before. The next day they took me to a neurologist. As I sat in his office, he looked at my Catscan. He swiveled around in his chair and looked at me...saying nothing. "So, what do you think?", I said.
"Nothing is wrong with you", he said. He then spent 30 minutes talking about his four Mercedes. "What about my seizure?", I said. He said nothing, but wrote me a prescription.
I tried to continue working in the pro shop, but my brain didn't work very well. My memory was slow. Soon I was fired. I hung around at my parent's house long enough to remodel the pro's office, because it was pitiful and depressing. He had spilled Coke all over his front seats in his car, so I took them apart and steam cleaned them...then put them back together.
I worked in a trim shop in Gun Barrel City for about 4 weeks but the guy was a crook and there wasn't enough work once I got it all done. Then in November, my Dad told me to paint the house and then leave. He gave me $1500 for doing it, then I loaded up my truck and left...in the middle of November. As I was leaving, my Dad said, "We are just selfish people". My mom said, a few days earlier, "your Dad kept you alive because he kept petting you".
I drove to Tyler, and had a hotel and a job within 30 minutes. I had a room at Value Place, and $600/week at Moose Auto Glass. The upholstery shop was a disgrace.
It had been in operation for a very long time...so there was no excuse for its condition. It was a warehouse for overnight stay customer cars. It had a very high ceiling, old-time poorly designed work tables, and crappy sewing machines. It was obvious the owners sucked the life (and cash) out of the business and employees, with little commitment to the operation.
I had seen this situation all over Texas, so I was not surprised. It was what I consider a great opportunity. I could set an example, and redesign the operation...providing increased profits and stability they had never known before. I installed my sewing machine, which was out of tune even though it was almost brand new. It had been my back-up machine for 5 years, and hardly used. It had been tampered with at some point in the past, so it needed a tune-up. The owner, Page 37
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Eddy Moose, spent a few hundred dollars getting it perfected. It was a commitment towards my investment into upgrading the operation.
I cleaned up the junk infested workspace, and installed my parts bins. My boss, the manager, pulled out 4 dumpsters worth of ancient worthless fabrics and threw it on the floor...leaving it for me to clean up. I was able to get 60% of the remodel completed in the first two months. All I had left was to replace the worktables and redesign the layout of the workspace. All the while, I was able to get my work done as well. I completed a car that had been sitting for months, and also another car that had been there the same amount of time.
I was able to get the owner of the second car to spend another $2000 to finish the second car...so I began that project. This glass shop routinely trashed our shop, left customer project cars sitting, and packed in overnight windshield cars that took priority over our work. I wasn't overly concerned because this is the type of situation I routinely correct. Everything was about to change.
One day in January, my boss (not the owner) came out to the shop and said,
"Wade, I think you should know...there is someone in the office talking about you".
I went to the office and saw my Dad walking out the door to the car. I followed him, and saw my mom sitting in the car. She saw me and her jaw dropped...like she saw a ghost. I stood in front of her for about 30 seconds, and she never moved...never spoke. She was just shocked, with her mouth open. I showed my Dad around the shop...a work in progress. They soon left.
From that day forward, I no longer had the support of management. Even though I had learned how to do convertible tops...completing two installations, and had cleaned up the shop, installed my machine and parts bins, bought new tools, and showed my commitment through my actions...not words...I was no longer respected. Even though they knew I had given them a chance to increase profits.
For some reason, I was going to be treated like a stepchild.
I gave notice that I was leaving...writing the owner a letter. I made a note that I was leaving everything better than when I came. The owner came out and privately told me he wanted me to stay. I responded by saying that I would like to stay, but only if I could finish what I started. That was apparently not an option. I left at the end of February.
Who Am I
I accomplished all this while I had little brain function. I commonly came to work not remembering the car I had worked on the day before. My recall was almost non-existent, although I did remember most things once I saw them. I just couldn't access my recall without visual or verbal stimulus. The first week I was there I gave a co-worker my will...leaving all my gear to him. I knew I was a "walking dead".
As I left, I knew that co-worker had mixed feelings. He no longer had faith in his future there, but his job was much more secure. Business as usual I am sure. No matter where I go, I encounter workers that don't want me around. One thing they understand...their stock goes down the day I walk in. If they have faith in who they are, I turn out to be a wonderful thing. If not, I am a huge threat.