As noted briefly before, I’m a novelist who supports his family by working as an attorney for the FDIC. To provide more detail about my checkered life:
My experience as a mover extends to one week working at the end of summer of ‘75.
The lifeguard/swimming instructor job took place over three summers at Ft. Belvoir, VA. I also worked briefly as a lifeguard at an indoor pool at the Navy Annex opposite from the Navy Yard in Anacostia, Washington, DC. The pool was very large, built in WWII to teach freshly drafted sailors how to swim. By the late ‘70’s, the hastily constructed roof had started to fall, a chunk of concrete had almost killed a retired officer, and a flak net was strung up under the roof to catch debris. The pool was freezing and used by Navy Seals who swam laps for hours with hundred-pound scuba tanks on their backs. Among other fun experiences I had in this place, I got thrown in the pool by a bunch of Marines and met the worst exhibitionist I have ever seen (Roxanne the “Fox”).
I worked as a door-to-door salesman during my period spent hopelessly flailing with no idea what to do with myself after graduating from the University of Virginia in ’78 with a BA in history. One product was a lifetime supply of color photo enlargement certificates (a dog, I quit that after about a month); the other was carpet cleaning. I lasted about three months doing this. My sharpest memory of this period was going into a living room to measure the carpet for an estimate. Over the mantelpiece was a full length, life size portrait of a young woman stretched out stark naked over a couch, a miniature white poodle strategically positioned over her crotch. My God, I thought, absolutely stunned, that’s the tackiest thing I’ve ever seen. Why would anyone have that in their living room? I later figured out from a poster on the stairwell that she’d been a stripper back in the ‘50’s and the portrait showed her in her glory days.
The carpenter’s helper was a job that my uncle scored for me in San Antonio while I was waiting to enter the Army. I was a complete fish out of water among Texas good old boys, basically a foreigner to their minds. Most of my time was spent with this old, closeted homosexual carpenter named Jack Johnson. He spoke in a deep raspy voice, bore more than a passing resemblance to Popeye, and was perfectly miserable. He railed at me constantly, with good reason since I absolutely stank at carpentry. Among his other traits, he had a habit of constantly saying “Do you follow me? Do you follow me?” This was ironic, since among other qualities, he was hopelessly inarticulate.
My Russian translator experience was in the Army in the last stages of the Cold War. I learned Russian at the Defense Language Institute in Monterey, CA. I was also stationed in Nuremburg, Germany and Ft. Polk, LA. I traveled a fair amount while I was in the service, Italy, Greece, Turkey, Egypt, and a good chunk of rural Bavaria. My time at the Presidio and two months spent in Berlin before the Wall fell were some of the happiest days of my life.
Other odd, assorted facts about me:
Writers I admire: Kingsley Amis, William Faulkner, Henry Fielding, Samuel Johnson, Jonathan Swift, Vladimir Nabokov, Cormac McCarthy, B. Traven, Joseph Conrad, Edgar Rice Burroughs, Robert E. Howard, Dashiell Hammett, Jose LaTour. This is a very partial list.
Music I like: Rolling Stones, Pissed Jeans, Pentagram, Sun Ra Arkestra, Southern Culture On The Skids, Dion and the Belmonts, the Crystals, the Ronettes, Mingus Big Band, Elvis Presley, Janis Joplin, Can, Amon Duül, Annabouboula, Blue Cheer, Blue Oyster Cult, the Midnight Creeps, the Cramps, Sex Pistols, Siouxsie and the Banshees. This is also partial.
Favorite movies: two. The Wild Bunch (my bad side) and The Adventures Of Baron Munchausen, Terry Gilliam’s version (my nice side).
I once climbed the smallest of the three Great Pyramids. The view was unbelievable.
One of my aunts was shoved not once, but twice by Lyndon Baines Johnson.