In a year full of financial, philosophical, emotional and existential ass beatings, I have embarked on yet another. Today was my first day as a pool cleaner. That’s right. As in, one who cleans pools.
Do I have anything against pool cleaners? Nope. Did I ever consider joining the pool cleaning profession at ten bucks an hour until last week? Nope. I’ve also taken a job as a doorman at a bar I used to practically run. Is it that bad out there or am I as inept as I feel?
To be honest, it’s bad out there. And, while I feel humbled by life (yet again) I’ve realized a truism about myself: You can beat me, but you can’t kill me.
What I mean by that is, you cannot take my spirit from me. I am almost thirty-four years old and working two of the shittiest, most menial jobs of my life right now. I tell people what I’m doing and some of them laugh in my face. Others look at me with pity. I am an immensely proud person and while I wish I could say that I am immune to these obtuse opinions, to be honest it makes me question myself. Question my aptitude, my self-responsibility, my character.
Then I think of my child.
I have no idea if The Nugget is a boy or a girl yet. I have no idea when I’m exactly going to see him or her and get to hold him/her for the first time. But, I do know that my child MUST have a man for a father. Not a guy, not a dude, not a man-child. A man. A dad that will do whatever he must, swallow his last ounce of pride if need be, to make sure his kid will get every opportunity he/she requires. And if I prove this with my actions, is that not also pride in itself?
If that means I have to work two shitty jobs in the middle of a recession because there’s nothing else available at the moment then I can still look at myself in the mirror and see a man can’t I?
I believe so. I believe dad’s a man. I believe pity does not exist in this dojo. And I believe pride is a tricky virtue. All these things are simple, in a complicated sort of way.
Do you believe I’m a man?