The summer going in to my senior season of high school, for a summer job I moved to Utah and worked for my brother, a general contractor in the Wasatch front and Park City area. The state was only a few months removed from the 2002 Winter Olympics, and in the words of my brother, Park City had now been, “discovered,” which, as the years grew later, turned in to him saying, “All of the billionaires are beginning to push out the millionaires.” I always liked that imagery. I thought it was clever. But for a contractor, that is a wonderful problem to have in your region of work.
Up until this point in my life, I had only ever had two jobs. The first was the family paper route, handed down kid to kid, from my oldest brothers to my sister just above me. It was a system and it was all done with the help, supervision, and guidance of our parents. Every morning we would wake up at the crack of dawn and head to distribution center to collect the content from the presses. I started delivering papers when I was eight years old, and continued to do so until I moved to the Beehive state at the age of seventeen. My second job, I worked for a company called Office Furniture Source in my home state of Washington. I assembled the various office chairs and entertainment centers, as well as making deliveries of said furniture. I had received the job to make extra money to buy clothes and have mad money. I was sixteen and got the job through a family friend of our church. It was an good job and I have a couple of funny stories to tell from it. One of my fondest memories ever, is a story from that furniture job:
It was my third week of working with the company. Richard (my Hispanic co-worker who had the thickest accent of all time) and I were driving out to the boondocks of all boondocks. I halfway fell asleep on the drive out, which kind of adds to the dream-like feeling of that day. We had a ton of furniture, some really expensive oaky pieces, loaded in the van, and invoiced for just one residence. The areas we were driving through did not necessarily scream, “We have extra money for office furniture”. I began to doubt the day as being a drag. Driving a bit further and coming up over a hill, some developer had decided to build these massive structures, disguised as homes people could buy and live in. Gigantic places.
Richard always started to untie everything and lower the lift gate when we arrived at our delivery destinations, and that always meant I had to be the one to make the first contact with our customers—something I hated doing as a somewhat bashful sixteen year old. This delivery was no exception. I dreaded making conversation with customers, and by the size of this house, I was extra intimidated. When I rang the doorbell, I half expected a butler to answer in full tuxedo or some old grumpy guy that had bought up all the land surrounding him just so he could be left alone.
BAUM! Bu buu buam… bu buu buam………. lA nu na la bu baum!
Opening the palatial door was this… vixen. A certified eleven out of ten, eye candy, music video, super hot, probably-sent-a-few-men-to-prison-before-she-turned-of-age… bombshell. Blonde, 5’4-ish, amazingly tanned that when she wasn’t sparkling, she was glowing. We must have caught her getting ready after a shower. Her hair was still wet and kind of scrunchy, but she had already done her make up. Someone had airbrushed these white things call short-shorts on her and she sported an oversized sweatshirt that had been cut in all the right places. These two items were the only thing on her body. Nothing else. I could not move. I could not breathe. The only thing I could do was stare. If I had died right then, my tombstone would have read ‘Died in the Presence of Perfection’. She moved in slow motion, like stopping time was a parlor trick that her hotness granted her. Some movie lighting crew existed invisibly and followed her everywhere to accentuate her stunning everything.
I do not know how long I stood at the door under a spell, but she just smiled and gave me the friendliest, “Hi,” that ever existed, and it snapped me out of it.
“We furniture. I mean, we have your furniture.” I practically drooled it.
She gave a laugh and said to follow her and that she would show me where he husband wanted it. Anywhere and everywhere I thought.
I took a look at the space and the path she showed me to get to the room and worked up the courage to ask her if there was a different way to get to this furniture there, either through the back yard or garage. She had not thought of that and said that the garage would probably work better and to follow her once more. Truth be told, I would have followed her off of a bridge at that point.
Finally starting to recover from my shellshock, and trying to play every movement I made as nonchalant as possible, she opened the door leading in the garage.
Shellshock part two.
There sat the dopest Ferrari. A shinny, silver, 575M Maranello. I recognized it immediately; after all, it was the same exact car on the cover of my Motortrend sitting on the foot of my bed at home. As I stood helplessly staring for the second time that day, hottie hot hottie went back to the kitchen to get the keys.
She came back, hoped in, started the car—it literally purred—and put it in gear. Stalled it. Started it again. Stalled it a second time. After the third time she did this I was going to suggest we just put it in neutral and push it out in to the driveway, but then she opened the door and asked if I knew how to do it. The car was her husband’s and he was out of town. I gave her the quickest, shortest ‘yes’ in the history of the world. It was almost a whisper.
Backing out that Ferrari was one of the greatest feelings in my life. I think I topped it out at 4 MPH. I have done 4 MPH in a Ferrari 575M Maranello people. I now live on a higher echelon than most of society. Best day of work, hands down. Needless to say, Richard and I took our sweet time moving the furniture in and getting everything situated. To cap off the day, she tipped us each twenty bucks and gave me a personally signed Maxium-styled picture of her that she kissed with lipstick. Okay, so one of those two things did NOT happened… but still. It was the single greatest day of work I have ever worked.
Back to the real world and how things normally go. This new labor intensive job, working with big brother, did not yield any Ferrari driving or encounters with saucy minxes, but it produce some nice paychecks for a seventeen year old kid and remember taking that pay check to the newly built outlets in Park City where I made two key purchases for a seventeen year old male. Headphones and some Nike kicks.
The headphones were Bose’s noise cancelling ones. They were THEE best head set on the market and in my opinion—worth the $300 bucks I shelled out for them. Looking back at the purchase, I quickly slap my hand to my forehead, but then again, I was a kid, so big whoop. The kicks where a black with red trim, set of Michael Vick indoor turf shoes. I loved those shoes and rocked them everywhere I went. It was the precursor to my love of Michael Vick and the precursor to his 2002 Pro-Bowl season and the subsequent kick off of MV7 taking over the league, and eventually signing a 10-year $130 million dollar deal. We all know what happened to that contract two years later and the fallout that ensued.
Fast forward to yesterday. Michael Vick had for the second time in his career, has captured and taken over the National Football League and again, signed his second hundred million dollar deal—a 6-year $100 million dollar deal to be precise, with the Philadelphia Eagles.
You either love it or hate it. Most hate it. I love it. I love the whole entire Michael Vick story. I’ve talked about it. I’ve written about it. A small part of me hopes he wins a Super Bowl just to cap off the most inspiring story of redemption of all-time, and that is saying something because I am a through and through Dallas Cowboys fan. They play in the same dang division for crying out loud. Philly winning a Super Bowl means Dallas does not. So maybe let me clarify: if the Dallas Cowboys cannot win the Super Bowl, then my loyalties immediately fall to Michael Vick. I will probably get some wicked hate mail for saying that from Cowboys fans. Actually, on second thought, I won’t. Three people read these columns, and I do not think you are a ‘Boys fan… are you? Moving on.
I am not a father, but some day I will be, and I am going to ingrain the Michael Vick story in to my children’s brains, and that no matter the terrible things you may do in this life, you can always pay for what you did, right the wrong, and rise from the ashes of your trial to accomplish everything you once had… and even more. Regret can teach you, make you better. Stronger. I believe that whole-heartedly. Everything about this story can be a lesson. Learning that some people, can never get passed mistakes you may make, but their bitterness does not define you, and that the opinion you hold of yourself is greater than any other. Forgive those that do not forgive you. The best challenge in being humbled is how to stay humble. You can be anything you want to be and can always be a better person. These are the takeaways we need to be making.
I think Michael Vick has gotten everything he deserves, both good and bad, and I love his contract extension. Go out and silence the critics MV7, silence them like you always have.