So today is my daughter Janelle’s birthday. She is – years old. I called her early this morning just to say Happy Birthday really, not to talk like I usually do. Yeah, I remember when she was born. I thought I had life all figured out. I had a nice job working at Circle K Corporation, my first job out of college which it took me six months to find. I was making $25,000 a year, living with my mother, saving money, shopping a little, etc. I think I saved 5,000.00 in a year. Janelle’s mother went for child support and they awarded her $389.00 a month. She walked out of the court room happy like she’d just hit the lotto, maybe in an effort to try and piss me off. But I didn’t care cause even minus that amount, I was still bringing home more than I’d ever made before. I was still saving. With the decision to become a Hip Hop producer, I bought an ARS 10 Sampling Keyboard for $2,000.00 and starting making Hip Hop songs.
A little after that, my 1986 Oldsmobile Ninety Eight broke completely down and I had to buy a new car. I bought a brand new Chevy Malibu. After the car purchase, with payments and insurance, my pocket was low. At that point, I decided to really work on my move to New York City. I was two years in at Circle K; they had just given me a lateral promotion (meaning more responsibility with no talk of more money). Just as the change was about to take effect, I’d found me a job at this company in Brooklyn called The Italian Job, a mob spin-off legal business. I was making $34,500.00 which was only enough for my needs and bill responsibility; no money left to shop, go out, nothing. After about a year of that shit, I stopped paying my car insurance for a little extra cash, which ended up being dissolved by this new credit card I transferred to for a lower interest rate in exchange for higher minimum payments; $100.00 more a month. That’s what I get for not reading the fine print.
I really was starting to hate my job also, so much so that I stopped working because it seemed as if I was not doing anything important or learning anything. I got fired a week before the Sept 11, 2001 terrorist attack. After that, it took me six months to find another job. There were plenty of jobs out there it seemed; I went on 22 interviews before I finally got hired somewhere, which was at an advertising agency. It was a cool job, no dress code, open-bar on Fridays after work and friendly people for the most part.
I really learned my job after the guy who hired me left and this Italian lady came on board. She didn’t know what she doing so I had to learn the job with her. One thing I understood better than she was the EAS Accounting Software they had. After she and I came to an understanding of all the changes she wanted as far as my work went, she challenged every piece of work I did. When I met her challenges and began answering her questions before she asked them, she made up some bullshit to tack on to the official warning I received concerning my underperformance, according to her standard, and I was fired. I had her all figured out. Told myself, “Just do your duties, ignore her attempts to get on your nerves, and everything will be alright.” Everything was not alright. Now, I’m going on another six months of being unemployed but this time around, there aren’t many jobs out there. The economy is getting weaker by the week. I’ve only been on about five interviews.
I moved to New York to work as an accountant and to try to get work as a Hip Hop producer, neither, especially the Hip Hop production, are working out for me. If I wasn’t living with my girlfriend, I’d be on my way to being homeless right now. She thinks I eat too much salt and butter, and at age –, I’m on my way to a heart attack. I say to her, “what I got to live for?’ She says, “life is a precious gift.” She says that shit because just like me; at age –, she’s making $56,000 on her job; she’s able to take care of her daughter; she shops and buys expensive clothing; she’s doing, so it seems, better than her friends; she just moved from one room in the projects to a two bedroom apartment with nice wooden floors; and she just recently purchased equipment to start making clothing in pursuit of her dream to open a children’s clothing line store called Queen by Queen. She’s young and ambitious just like I was with the world ahead of her with her dreams.
Me, I’m starting to come to reality that my Hip Hop dreams may never materialize. I’m –; I have not a dime in the bank; my credit has gone bad; I ain’t got a job. So yes, what this life is presenting me right now is shit. What the world is presenting Watrina is sugar right now and probably for the future also. So she, in essence, would be saying some shit like, “life is such a precious gift.” Everybody says that shit when they are on their feet. I wanna hear a homeless New Yorker, on the street, in the cold of winter, say that shit. When I hear them say it, on the street, on a cold Christmas night, then maybe I’ll start singing the same song. But hearing that shit from people like Mary J Blige: who has millions of dollars, and has sold millions of records, and is so spiritually fulfilled now that she has a real man, not afraid of her success, who is gonna marry her; my response is, “shut the fuck up witt that bullshit.” Mary J wasn’t singing that same shit when was drinking, smoking, sniffing, and being in a relationship every other year with any male R&B singer who said hello to her. Lauryn Hill wants to accept grammy awards, preaching, “the money don’t matter, God matters.” This after the group she was in sold 13 million records of one album worldwide, making all three members millionaires. After that, three years later her solo album sold about 10 million worldwide, to make her more of a millionaire. When you’re a millionaire, the money don’t matter. When you have a good job making decent money, a beautiful intelligent daughter, and a nice apartment outside the New York City Housing Authority Projects, life is precious. My response to that shit is …….!