Trying Times

29 10 2008

Hey everybody.  I deeply apologize for not even saying hello yesterday.  I was working hard, as there are a bunch of changes going on at the mill.  I’m currently working to get out of the matrix, but for now, a brotha has to work for the man cause just like you, I got bills! 

A young dude got the axe a few days ago and it was pretty rough for me. One, because the guy has a family, and two, because it took me back to that feeling when I got laid off.  Me and my boy Lamont were both working for one of the big global consulting firms after which we fondly distorted the name and added the letters “KKK” whenever we spell it, and we had recently rolled off of a project.  I think what they called it was “being on the bench”.  Hell, we didn’t care because we were still getting paid.  The cool part about it was We had been on the project for 6 months, but that’s where I met Lamont and we became friends, so let me back up a bit.

This was my first job out of undergrad, as I had been recruited at my school into their technology competency group.  Yeah, Corduroy was a techie at one point, but that was another lifetime.  This is just about as far as I go with computer stuff, although I remained pretty proficient with anything computer related.  After about a month I got on a project down in St. Petersburg, Florida, which was cool, except for the fact that as far as black folk go in the Tampa/St. Pete area, they don’t make a significant impact in the city.  I may have not been fair because after all, I was living in Atlanta, which has held the title as the premiere black dominated progressive city of the south for many years with no sign of its dominance ending. I love Atlanta.  I need to buy some FILAs to show my love. (ATLiens get it).  Needless to say, I viewed the black folk in Tampa/St. Pete as being asleep and I still do.  Years later I moved there to stay with family for a couple years and not much changed.  Sure there were a few educated and sophisticated black folk there, but they were few and far between.  Most made their way to Atlanta.

Anyway, so I was on the project doing some bullsh!t for the Home Shopping Network (they are based there) and they started losing money.  I guess selling gaudy rest stop quality crap wasn’t appealing to the little old ladies and lonely soap opera watching white women as much as it had been, or maybe QVC was deboing the television shopping game.  Whatever the case, I rolled off after about 3 months.

After another month on the bench I got on a project for a company called Dekor right in Atlanta.  They were like a high end Rooms To Go.  I was working with JD Edwards and to this day, I still don’t know what that sh!t does.  All I know is that my boss on that job was an insecure little shrimp that didn’t want to show or explain anything to me and there was an indian dude that was kissing his ass so much, I think on a couple of occasions his nose was browner than usual.   I hate corporate america for reasons like that.  Dekor eventually went bankrupt and out of business, but I rolled off long before. 

The last project I was on was in Minneapolis of all places for US Bank I think.  I was on the project for 6 months, but I guess my mind has blocked out most of it because of the unpleasantries.  First off, Minneapolis??? I’m a southern boy, but since I am big on adventure, I should have looked forward to it, right? Well, it was still winter when I got staffed for it, so it was cold as sh!t.  Plus, that was the first time I had seen snow like that. Sure, every couple years it may have snowed in Atlanta, but it doesn’t stay long and it’s nowhere near that stuff in Mpls.  It was so cold, that when we would go outside, I would just laugh because I couldn’t believe how cold it was!

So check this out. There were about 20 of us staffed on this project, all new analysts, and me and Lamont were the only black guys on the project.  Wouldn’t you know it?  They just happened to assign us both to the same corporate apartment!  I guess they figured “Well…these two niggers may be lonely if we split them up. I’m sure they have things in common like basketball, fried chicken, and rap music, so let’s go ahead and room them together for the good of the team.”  That’s mean, I know.  I take it back (or not).  But it was odd.  I didn’t complain though, because the rest of those jokers would have gotten their asses beat if they woulda talked crazy.  Me and Lamont are both southern black men, so there was already an communication compatibility. 

At first I think I was a little standoffish, as he was too.  We would come to the apartment from work, talk about a couple things, make dinner, then go in our rooms.  After a while though we started to warm to each other.  I can credit the PS2 and music.  I don’t know which one came first, but I know what did it for me.  I think one day I came in the room after working out and he was playing some Stevie on his laptop or I was.  That’s when we got into a conversation about music and I discovered his tastes in music were pretty similar to mine.  I also found out his birthday is two days before mine, and we’re both Virgos.  Soon we became fast friends and when we played Madden, it was nothing but laughs for me, because even though I’m not a football game dude, I would sometimes stomp him in the ground with a bunch of bullsh!t plays which would really get his goat.

After a few months, we got split up and he got put on a portion of the project in Chicago while I stayed in Minneapolis.  Chicago is a MUCH cooler city. One of my favorites actually.  To all my Windy City readers, your city is definitely one of the coolest. 

Since we had the option of going back home on the weekends, we could also take a trip to any other place we wanted as long as it cost about the same.  One time I went to go chill in Chicago and I actually stayed with a girl I had met in Atlanta that lived in Chicago and Lamont had his mom visit him. At night though, me and my girl and Lamont went out to this club.  It’s where we heard one of the greatest songs ever. It’s called “FREAKY MOTHERF*CKERS” by Mike Dunn.  If you haven’t heard that song, it’s pretty explicit, but a fun fun fun party song.

Corduroy hearts the Chi

Corduroy hearts the Chi

Anyhow, we eventually rolled off our projects and were back in Atlanta.  And then it happened.  The day before my birthday, Lamont called my phone and was like “Dude, did John call you?”  John was one of the partners for the firm.  I was like “No. Why, what’s up?”  Lamont was like “I think I’m about to get laid off dude, he called me to come in.”  I think during the same conversation, my phone beeped and I clicked over. Guess who it was? ……..John…….  After hanging up and clicking over I told Lamont that John just called and wanted me to come in too.  Our conferences were scheduled a few hours apart from each other.  Lamont’s was in the morning, and mine was at about 1pm. 

The firm had recently gone public, and after being on the market, the stock didn’t do so well, and they felt it best to trim some fat. So last hired, first fired. Oh well, the silver lining was that the severance enabled us to chill out for a good while before having to find work, so we did.  There were many a’ days where we played video games, hit up live music shows, got faded off of hennessy, hit up strip clubs, and talked plenty of sh!t along the way.  Those were the days.

Fast forward 7 years and here we are.  I’m still a single guy without a family, but Lamont is a bonafide family man.  I was a groomsman in his wedding about 4 years ago (which was beautiful by the way, even though i hate weddings).  He married Sheba and are a beautiful black couple.  Both highly intelligent and sophisticated, and at the same time they both know how to have fun.  To top it off, I’m the Godfather to their first born, Miles.  He’s a handsome fella that loves the ladies.  If Lamont has to practice restraint in telling him about the girls, he can always direct Miles to his Godfather for the skinny.  😉

But this goes back to the dude that got laid off a few days ago. It hurt me to my heart cause he’s a young black dude with a little baby boy.  I couldn’t help but think about what he possibly could be feeling, what I felt when I got the axe, and my boy Lamont and his family.  I’m praying for him, and I’m sure he’ll make a way because he struck me as a black man that will do what’s necessary for his family, just as Lamont does, and just as I would. 

I know you may have been expecting to laugh upon the read, but every now and then, Corduroy’s heart comes out.  What can I say, Corduroy has compassion.  Hey, check out pictures of my ladykiller Godson wishing you all a Happy Halloween:

Mean old lion!

Mean old lion!




3 responses

29 10 2008

That baby is TOO cute… That was a really touching blog man. I’m sorry for your friend, but having recently lost a job myself I can tell you it could possibly be GOD moving him on to something better

30 10 2008

The baby pics are a heart tugger, man!!! What a handsome little guy.

I do hope your friend lands on his feet as you did.

30 10 2008

Cord, I your co-worker will be fine. I’ve been laid off or fired three times in 11 years, but each time I had no choice but to bounce back.

And that little man is a cute kid.

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