Tuesday, August 9, 2011

I Don't Want Any Magazines, and I Love My Vacuum

Author's Note: The topic of religion is briefly addressed in this post. In no way am I attempting to demean or belittle any particular faith or denomination.

As I have said, my family and I have recently moved into a new house. It's a bigger house, with an actual yard, in a much better neighborhood. I never thought there would be anything that I missed about the old house. But, after only a couple of months, I found it.

This neighborhood has a ridiculous amount of solicitors.

At the old house, which was located in an alley, we would get two or three salespeople per year. Now, it's two or three per week. It's starting to get out of hand. Last night at around 8:00, a guy rang the doorbell and tried to sell us siding for our house. The same guy woke me up at 8:30 this morning to try again. No means no, mister.

I thought about putting a “NO SOLICITING” sign under my doorbell, but realized that's a bad idea. From the salesperson's viewpoint, a sign like that means one of two things: either a) a challenge, or b) a sucker.

I'll admit, I used to be a sucker. That's what happens when you try to be nice and polite. Most of the time, you need to be downright rude and just shut the door in their face to get them to leave you alone. Then there are the religious people, who don't believe they are “soliciting.”

Please don't get me wrong. I have nothing against religious people. At least, not until they knock on my door and tell me that everything I believe is wrong. I can guarantee that I am just as set in my beliefs as they are in theirs, and neither of us is likely to change any time soon.

So, I've decided to follow the only available course of action. I am going to give my house a reputation amongst the door-to-door sales community. (For some reason, I can see all the salespeople gathering in the back of a dimly lit warehouse, swapping stories of their time “on the road.”) I want salespeople to walk by my house and say to themselves, “I've heard about that house...”

You want to try it too? Here's the plan:

1) Whenever possible, answer the door completely naked. This shocks the salesperson and immediately gives you the upper hand.

2) Keep a spray bottle full of liquor (I recommend cheap whiskey) near the front door. Before answering the door, spray yourself a few times and put on your drunk face. When you answer the door, keep yourself propped up on the door frame, as if you can't stand by yourself. Also, belch as much as possible. (This one is much more effective before noon.)

3) Make your own religious pamphlets. Being agnostic, this one is really easy for me. I just need to draw a question mark on a blank piece of paper, then fold it in thirds.

4) Let your small child answer the door, and pretend like they own the house.

5) If you speak a foreign language, convince them that you don't speak English.

If you follow all these steps, solicitors might start leaving you alone. Even if they don't, at least it will be a LOT more fun when one comes to the door.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Second Chances

Author's Note: I've already touched on this topic briefly, but I've been thinking about it a lot lately. Read the original post here.

I'll be the first to admit, I've made a lot of mistakes in my life.

I can also say that I have learned a very important lesson from each and every major mistake I've made. (I got my first set of dentures a week after I turned 27. Lesson: Don't do meth.)

My life now is pretty damn good. There is an amazing woman who (for some unknown reason) loves me, and we have the best little boy two parents could ask for. We bought a house, and I'm going to school so I can get one of those "real jobs."

Now that I'm halfway to my degree, I've been thinking about applying for a job in my field. I'm already dreading the interviews.

My most recent experience with job interviews has not been pleasant. Last summer, I had quite a few of them. Unlike most people, I have a horrible habit of being honest during an interview. For example:

Interviewer: Why did you leave your last job?

Usual Answer: I felt that it was time to move on to something new/expand my skill set.

My Answer: Because I had developed a drinking problem and could no longer deal with stress in a reasonable way. I have since stopped drinking heavily, though I do still have a beer or two occasionally. I have also been diagnosed with a brain disorder, and have been on medication for the last (insert time period here).

Most potential employers will at least finish the interview, but I did have one gentleman stop right there. He asked me why I told him all that, and I couldn't help but look at him like he was crazy.


He proceeded to tell me that I wouldn't be getting the job, and he encouraged me to lie at my next interview. I told him that I wouldn't. It's not fair to myself or my potential employer. I've done my share of lying, from the little white ones to the giant ones, and it's brought me nothing but trouble.

I shouldn't have to lie about who I am to get a job. Like I said, I've learned something valuable from every mistake I've made. I've apologized to the people I hurt. I've tried to make amends the best that I can. My only hope is that I will someday find an employer who will be impressed by my honesty, not offended by it.