..What the fuck happened to me?
I was a writing major in College. I won awards for my writing. How the fuck did I go from winning writing awards to becoming a Junkman?
Clearly, I fucked up big time… It was 1983 and I was looking for work after graduating from Queens College.
I took an Advertising Class and the teacher thought I should be institutionalized. I had some outrageous Ad campaigns… I read alot of Mad Magazine when I was a kid and then I grew into being a Punk… They went together like peanut butter and jelly. The Ad Man unfortunately was not a Madman.
I have a tattoo of Alfred E. Newman on my arm with the logo,”what, me worry?” Yep.
Well, the truth of the matter was that I was worried. I would read The New York Times everyday on my way to job interviews. I would sweat and drip onto the paper because of the news of the horrible recession and Reagonomics . The ink would come off the paper from all the sweat and I looked like I was coming from working in a coalmine and not going out and looking for a job on Madison Avenue…
The Job interviews were not going well either. I don’t know if it was because of the summer, but I was so happy to be in air conditioning after being in a suit and tie, that I relaxed too much in these interviews. I’d crack jokes and talk about the Mets.
So, there I was this laughing hyena with dried newspaper ink on my face, asking the Secretaries out on dates on my way out the door…
Then, I’d get home and switch into a… suit and tie, but my comfort suits for Punk leisure was always suits off of dead guys, with a skinny tie… I would practice guitar, but by 83, I had met my hero’s and they turned out to be Junkies. I would be in a club and people were way fucked up.
It was sad.
I have always been mostly sober. I can drink, I can smoke weed. I have weed from thirty years ago that I threaten my wife that I am going to smoke. I don’t get high much. So, I was isolated somewhat in the Bohemian Culture of The East Village. Plus there was a pretentiousness of savyness that always made me laugh.
So, I’d take my guitar to an audition and I’d be cracking jokes and talking about the Mets and people would disappear in the bathroom and do Heroin.
So, I didn’t fit in.
I finally got a temp job in a major Corporation doing menial jobs. I loved it. I had time to write and read.
Then, I got sucked into a full time position when my girlfriend got pregnant…
And there I rotted for eight years. They continously gave me more and more responsibilities and I had less and less time to write, or even care about it.
Despite all my attempts, The Company got in my head. I did fight it, but it slithers in remarkable ways.
Then after being told year after year that I did not belong in the Company, and not leaving because they were telling me to leave. I had to leave, why? They closed the department down…
So, I was living in Ridgewood in 1992?… and I knew what I was going to do. I was already doing it part time. I was buying and selling crap I came across. I already had an ad running and I was going to people’s homes and buying estates
As a writer, to see the amount of houses that I saw and how people lived, was a knockout. There was always something to learn about character. I saw the pinstripes suits in the closet and the porno under the bed… I knew people’s secrets, and I knew everybody had them.
Doing Cleanouts was a no brainer for me after working in Corporations. I was still involved in the Music scene of The East Village, no longer as a participant, I knew too much about people’s secrets in the East Village, and I didn’t want to know anymore, but I loved music and had a passion for it. Going out and trying to get laid, also had a hand in play.
Mostly, I went home alone at night and had a hand in play alright.
Being a Junkman was a bridge for me between The East Village and The Corporation. I was a Businessman and I was a Bohemian.
For twenty years I was my own boss, except when I was married. I have been married three times. I get married every decade.
Anyway, I only have regrets about being in this business. I should have stuck to writing from the beginning and not fucked around in Corporate America or even being a Junkman, but what else can I do now. I’m fifty, fat and fucked…
There is one thing about being a Junkman…
You know the movie Pulp Fiction. The guy opens the box and you never get to see what is in it. Well, I’m the guy who gets to see what’s in the box.