Sophia

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Sophia – Spring 2016

The little human in the image above is named Sophia, and she is my youngest daughter. She was born with a rare disorder known as Turner Syndrome which you can read all about here if you want to know more. All you really need to know about this image is that Sophia was four years of age at the time of this sketch. Due to her condition, however, she looks as if she were only a toddler. She cannot walk, her hair barely grows, she is extremely short, and she has never spoken a word, but she can scream and cry quite well.

I could say some BS about how enriched my life has become with a disabled child, but I’ll be honest, this shit sucks. It’s hard work and it never stops. You never get a break. You don’t get a life outside of home anymore. You can’t take her anywhere. Last time we did go out we went to a pizza place. She threw a small packet of ranch sauce at the man next to us. It exploded on him, we left. Like I said, it’s hard.

With all of that said, however, I love this kid to death. She drives me up the wall every day with her antics… but when she gives me that goofy smile you see in the sketch above… I melt every time. She is the epitome of innocence and sometimes I envy that about her. She will never have to understand how scary this world really is. She just keeps doing her own thing, marching to her own beat while the rest of us keep pretending we know how to adult the right way. I want to be more like her honestly, just hit you with a sauce packet and scream in your face…

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Dummy Holes

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The Foreman – 2006

The Story.

My first real job was working as a laborhand on a natural gas installation crew. My foreman was a short redheaded man known as “Shorty”. Shorty was so short that he had to look up at me as he told me what to do. Though this was somewhat comical to me, he always had the last laugh. Often it felt as if he were singling me out more than other guys on the crew. My only job was to grab a shovel, dig a hole, and find the buried pipe. Shorty points and I dig. That’s how it worked.

Sometimes he would make me dig, what I would later call “dummy holes”. These are holes that have nothing for you to find. There is no pipe in these holes. There is no real reason to dig at all. The foreman would use dummy holes as punishment for guys who didn’t want to do their job. If you tried to protest they just pretend they had picked the wrong spot by mistake. Of course, this was only after you spent a couple of hours digging and sweating. I didn’t like this job and I didn’t like Shorty. To be fair I hadn’t liked this man for a very long time, since I was about eight years old to be precise.

Shorty was not only my boss, he had been my stepfather since I was eight years old. We didn’t get along very well as I made my way through adolescence. At home it didn’t matter if we got along, I could just be a little bitch and leave the house. At work it was different. He was the Boss at work. You were going to show up on time and do your job… or you were going to dig dummy holes all day until you got fired or you quit.

…I was fired.

 

I hated him even more after he fired me. How could he fire his own stepson? I was so delusional that I decided I could figure this whole “life” thing out on my own. I set off searching for my dream job. No one was going to dictate my life.  One month later I was still jobless and broke. Shorty offered me my job back… I accepted.

The truth is Shorty was a great stepfather. He did his best even if I couldn’t see it growing up. He could have easily given up on me but he never did. He rehired me but he never showed me favoritism. He made me do the hard work that was required to build my career in the industry I work in today. Though I proudly say that I have went well beyond those early days, I know where I started and I know who was there when I began.

Shorty is one of the biggest people in my life… even if I still have to get stuff off of the top shelf for him.

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“Shorty” 2016- Night Time Emergency Call

480-E Case Backhoe

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September 16th, 2008

The Story

In 2008 I worked in the underground utility industry installing natural gas lines to new homes around Atlanta, GA. I absolutely despised the work even though I was great at it. In an attempt to strike some sort of balance between the man I was becoming who had many responsibilities and the boy in me who just wanted to be an artist and nothing more, I would spend my thirty minute lunch breaks doing sketches like these while eating. They were ugly, crude, hastily drawn sketches of whatever happened to catch my eye during lunch that particular day. I felt that I had to keep drawing so that I could retain my smug sense of superiority over my co-workers. In my head at the time, I had convinced myself that settling to be a construction worker was below me. That I had to keep trying to be the artist I saw myself as. These sketches would make me famous!

I was a fucking idiot. Reality smacked me in the face a few hours later.

Those of you who are sharp readers may already know the significance of the date I made this sketch. It was the day the world financial market basically took a nose dive. Everyone in my company was laid off that day. I was not special. I was expendable just like everyone else. This was the last picture I drew for a long time. I suddenly didn’t have the luxury of a lunchtime hobby. Everyday my new job was to find a new job. As most of you know, no one was hiring at that moment in time… well almost no one. We did have two active wars going on after all…Save that story for later.