Monay night was my last night at Divas. I showed up in jeans, t-shirt, and Cubs hat. Screw the uniform, I was only there for advice for the manager taking my place. He is Phil’s pick. I notice a greater feeling of involvement with Phil toward those whom he has hired. I was a hire of the past GM. Add that with my constant philosophical ramblings on the nature of integrity, honesty, and hard work — as compared to his lack of integrity, lack of hard work, and complete lack of professionalism in the workplace, I was at odds with Phil on many levels. I wish the new manager luck. I gave him lots of advice, gave him pointers on several pitfalls to come to him so that he can make his own mind whether to steer clear of the ethics involved or to charge forward into the thick of things. I am putting my two shillings down that he will fit along with the personalities of those around him. Sex is an odd industry to be working in. I suppose that I had hoped to have brought a measure of integrity to the field, but I have not.
On a side note, I have made a difference somewhat. There is a large whiteboard in the kitchen where nearly everyone walks by to and fro. Upon this whiteboard I started out putting small quotes taken directly out of my Franklin Covey planner. Then I began drawing landscapes of mountains and such to go along with the themes of the quotes. Then I began to put questions onto the whiteboard to get people to think. Recently the writing on the whiteboard was a philosophical mind experiment… the classic “brain in the jar”, or “mind in the computer program”. I wanted the staff to stop and think for a moment about where their “self” was at. Then I wanted to direct their thinking into the notion of an internal locus of control. A common ailment with the staff, both service staff and dancer staff, is that of low sense of control. Dancers strip for no money and sometimes feel degraded, service staff work for a boss who cares not at all for their wellfare and they make pittance. It is true, nobody cares a rat’s ass about the staff and the staff knows this. Any seemingly altruistic action done by the brass for the staff (very few they have been) were political moves. To them everything is politics when managing a strip club. The sense of being a victim is common to the staff.
My last weekly whiteboard, anticipated by the staff who have grown to love them, was a short essay I composed on the spot. It started out with the bold letters Where is your sense of self worth?. I began with the utilitarian approach, and made the quick connection, held by many, that a job defines one’s sense of worth… hence a doctor is high on the list. Yet I also noted that a janitor and a cat (catching mice aboard a ship) should likewise have a high sense of worth. I tried to make the connections and questions simple. I wasn’t writing philosophy for philosophers and my usual habit, as seen over and over again in my own journaling, of jumping from point A to point E in my haste to get to the crux of the meaning sometimes leaves others baffled as to what I meant.
Why do children say that they want to grow up to be firemen, astronauts, ballerinas, or painters instead of fry cooks? I then gave a scenario, about a doctor who’s father was a doctor and who made his son follow in his footsteps. I wrote of how this doctor, when he comes home tired and weary from the hospital, he puts on a CD of Mozart and closes his eyes and secretly wishes that he were a cellist in a symphony. I then wrote about a fry cook who made next to nothing in wages, worked a base and meaningless job, but who was putting his money and his time into music classes and how he had plans for auditioning for the symphony in five years.
Follow the direction of your dreams boldly and without apology.
When I hung the whiteboard up and made my rounds, I came back to find people smiling at me. They all told me that they loved the whiteboard, how good it made them feel. One even took a polaroid of it, the last of Eddie’s whiteboard inspirationals. I’ve been asked by several people “who is going to do the weekly whiteboard?” and I’ve replied “why not you?” Several people have told me that they are sad to see me go. Several have expressed confusion as to why I am leaving. On the one hand I do not want to be in bad taste and tell details of my not wanting to work for the likes of people like Phil, but on the other hand I was being watched by the very people I’ve been telling that they can take control of their own lives. I’ve tried varying levels of detail with them all. All know that the money is not worth it, but I kept it no secret of my distaste for the ethics of the company. Many are shocked that I am leaving with no job lined up, with nothing to go. Perhaps I did this because I really am that fed up. Perhaps I am insanely stupid (likely). But perhaps… perhaps on a deeper level, a level that we often make decisions and yet aren’t aware of it at the time, I was trying to set an example, that things do not have to be rosy when you make a change, dare the unexpected. One does not always have the luxury of seeing over the horizon before a journey… and neither did I when I quit.
I am not totally dead right now. I just paid off some routine bills, some past due bills, and I still have money enough for next month’s rent and a bit to live off of. This gives me perhaps a month to come up with something. I have about a 95% chance of working as crowd control at the University of Oregon football game this saturday. I can’t help but think of the movie “Unbreakable”. (grin)
Tonight I brought home two DVDs, previously viewed and selling for cheap at Hollywood video. The Lord of the Rings and A Beautiful Mind. I had never seen the movie A Beautiful Mind and there was the chance that I would not like it. Yet my fears subsided when I saw on the opening credits that it was a Ron Howard film. I knew that I would like it. I had no idea that I would like it as much as I did. A simply beautiful film… a pleasure to the heart and mind.
In the film the young Nash tells of how he is searching for his orginal idea. How that took me back to my beginning days of college at UAM. It was there that I picked up the habit of walking around campus while reading a book. When I think I have to move and the deeper the thought the more trips I make. Whether it is to the next room or the 7-11 down the street. It is as though the mechanics of my mind and body were joined together. Psychology was, for me, philosophy of the mind and the mind was the realm that most interested me because I had begun to come aware of my own. Jumping in higher level psychology courses I quickly made myself known and was routinely at the head of the class. I kept reading theories of personality and I kept thinking to myself that each one had a different slant, a different perspective on the mind depending upon the biographical nature of the theorist. What if I were come up with a theory? It wasn’t a secret, but it wasn’t flaunted, that I wanted to come up with the next great theory of mind. My journal entries were on the nature and structure of the mind, some of my letters to my girlfriend who moved to Houston (and whom I followed) had ideas about personality and structure of mind.
It has been a winding road. I’ve gone through many different phases, different ideas, different notions of what I wanted to be and do. And here I am… thinking that within me I have the gifts to developing the next great theory of mind. I read children’s stories to keep myself fanciful (just read Riki Tiki Tavi). I am currently reading the book ATOM, explaining all the wonderful details of the Big Bang Theory and the lives of quarks, protons, matter and anti-matter, space and time. I am reading Darwin’s “Voyage of the H.M.S. Beagle” to see how a great mind begins to walk the path of legend. I am reading again “A Shattered Mind” to freshen in my memory the particulars with case histories of individuals with brain damage and the effects upon behavior and neurological functioning that this entails. I am constantly visiting a wonderful philosophy group online, headed by a professor of philosophy, to deepen my philosophical understandings, especially where the ontological argument is concerned.
Yes… I believe that I have something to offer the world. I have always thought as such. For years I’ve felt that my name will mean something due to something that I’ve contributed. I can truly think of no greater contribution to the world and all of its inhabitants than the deepening understanding of the human mind. And I mean the understanding of it by more than the cold statitician’s view, or the flowing romantic’s view. Whether one is cold and analytical or joyful and emotional… these same expressions work in the same machine. Whether that is the brain, or the brain is the physical interface or vehicle for something else I, a mere undergraduate, am not at all able to say. Far greater men than myself have looked at this problem. But instead of feeling that this to be impossible, I look to it as fuel. They show me the ways that have not worked before. To read the masters is to read wonderful tales of trial and error.
I will miss my co-workers and staff. Though I may visit from time to time, our lives often move along different strings that lead each to another tapestry. Heres to hoping that theres are full of color and imagery.