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The Breaking of Whatever James

May 1, 2013

If hipsters wrote country songs they would write my last few years: I lost my job, I lost my mind, I lost my blog and my cat died.

I lost my previous “day job” a few years ago. I generally work in insurance. I’m no expert but I do ok. I wound up under the wing of my supervisor, who had worked in our industry since before I was born. He was an expert. He was also a religious nut. I never get to far into politics with anyone, but damn do I love me spiritual head-to-head! But that’s not what happened.

My supervisor’s name was Mark. The names are crucial to the story so they can’t be changed. In the spirit of anonymity we can call him Mark X (also his name was spelled with a “c”). Mark is a Christian soldier if ever there was one. He was a nice enough guy who wore his faith on his sleeve. I actually came to admire him in a weird way. Mark is one of those Christian soldiers that understands how to interact with a world that may not agree with him. He feels the rightness of his righteousness enough that it doesn’t get to him. He won’t be worried by anything he hears or sees.

Mark has kids, too. He loved talking about his kids. Once he found out I was an Eagle Scout he really liked talking about his son. His son was in the scouts. I guess to protect his kids until their minds and/or spirits are strong enough to weather the storm of non-believers, Mark and his wife home schooled their kids. They wanted to protect them from teachers who were state-mandated to teach their kids about evolution or other science-y notions. The scout troop was actually made up of other boys in Mark’s family’s church. I really liked Mark. I may not like religion but I love anyone going their own crazy way.

A few July’s ago Mrs. Whatever had a miscarriage and we lost a baby boy, Logan Xavier. When I returned to work I was given the obligatory space and condolences. Mark invited me to a conference room and offered to talk or listen or just sit and keep me company as long as I wanted. He also wanted to pray. I politely declined. I always politely decline. No one is forcing their beliefs on you if they ask if you want to pray. No more then anyone is trying to sexually assault you if they offer a hug. Everyone copes differently and I like to think all offers like that come from a place of love and compassion, so I always politely declined his offer to pray for my son. It was then I realized MY beliefs had never really come up. It was clear he knew instantly. It didn’t matter what he knew or how right or wrong he may have been. I never found it. In the following months it became clear that I was the type of enemy this Christian soldier was out for.

My supervisor’s supervisors name was John. We can call him John Y if you’re still on the name game. After a couple of months the tension had reached critical mass with Mark. We had a big conference call with one of our biggest clients. I went and spoke with John. I laid out what had happened and what I thought was happening. I told him everything. Looking back, I should have seen it coming. I am sure you do. But as the saying goes: nothing could have prepared me for what happened next. Gathered in John office for our call, it is customary for the highest paid person in the room to do the introductions:

“This is John and I have Mark and James in my office. You’re on the phone with half the new testament”!

While I can still hear the laughter on the phone and in the room it is the look that John shot me that will haunt me forever. It can still make me cry if I think about it too much. After a couple of months of office foreplay I received a call from Marc before 7:00 a.m., that my services were no longer needed. Two days later the contents of my desk and my final paycheck were delivered to my door.

I know it’s wrong to hate someone for being gay. Or black. Or Christian. But I have never been gay or black so I can only show my support. And if someone made fun of my clothes or my haircut it didn’t bother me because they were my choice. But my beliefs feel as natural to me as my arm. I question myself and re-evaluate from time to time. And for my wife, my kids and the few people I truly think deserve more then they have gotten in this life, I hope I am wrong. But I can not change my beliefs any more then Mark can. The realization that someone could treat me the way they did for something I couldn’t change broke me as a person. The deeper it sank, the deeper I did. I lost my spontaneity. I could feel my mind slipping into isolation. The worst was realizing I had become as boring as the people around me.

Eventually I stopped writing, blogging and for a time even stitching. I was afraid of putting anything about me out there. In my day job I don’t speak except to my boss or the state-mandated calls I have to make. Yes, I podcast but that is  controlled environment. The two friends I record with go back further than my neurosis and I trust them as much as my paranoia will allow.

But this is not my natural state. I was, and am determined to be again, an empathetic and pleasant individual who is not afraid of his own mind or the world outside of it. I have felt my mind slipping and this is my opportunity to catch it. This Blog Every Day In May experiment is my road back to my mind. To put myself out there and not give a shit who is paying attention but secretly hoping somebody is. On the Porkchop Express we call it “juggling on a podcast”. Here I will call them visual gags in the dark.

In My Ears: Alkaline Trio – She Lied to the F.B.I.
In My Heart: Fear
Whatever James

The Diagnosis


From → #BEDM, Personal(ity)

  1. rosalilium permalink

    Thanks for sharing your story. I’m sorry to hear you have has a hard time and I hope this challenge brings you back your blogging mojo too.

  2. Wow. What a post. It can’t be legal what happened to you. I wish you had some legal recourse to shove up their asses so far the sun will never see it again.

  3. Discrimination against atheists is bullshit and unfortunately prevalent. Some day, logic will prevail! Fuck those assholes in your past and let it go!

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