First and for most Daft Punk’s: Random Access Memories is becoming one of my favorite late night albums. It just captures the ride through the twilight hours in an amazing mix of organic and synthesized instrumentals. I felt this had to be stated before we got into the meat of things. The return of Stuff My Dad Should Have Taught Me Quatro: Getting to Twerk aka Work
As I’ve mentioned, my parents are viciously hard workers. Even in their sixties, both of them cannot stop the hustle. My mom still works double shifts back home since it’s herself in the house now. My parents have been drilling into our heads to always work hard and make the moneys. Having money would lead to financial responsibility which would guarantee success in life. Seeing their work ethic and constant chastisement when I would buy frivolous things has ensured I that don’t go on crazy antique furniture shopping sprees.
My first job was with my sister Aisha delivering flyers. My sister was also a hustler who has been working since the age of 15 with her first job at Flyer Force. She asked me if I could give her a hand and split the proceeds. It was a pretty even split since I carried my own weight. I think we made around $250 every two weeks, more around the holidays. I remember the freezing cold evenings running around the Alta Vista and Heron area. Delivering during the 1998 Ice Storm was treacherous and beautiful. The streets were strewn with toppled trees blanketed in ice and my boots had very little grip. I’d be literally fighting to get back up incline driveways . Those memories are still vivid when I go through the old hood and it’s always a great part of my life I got to spend with my sister.
The duties included assembling the flyers the night before, where we developed an awesome system to pack them. Whenever we could we would double team, one person assembling, the other passing the flyers. All of this being done in the basement while watching tv. Then we would pack them in a hockey bag for my sister and a back pack for me. We would then walk roughly two kilometers to our area and split up to our designated route to maximize efficiency. It was a work of art, criss crossing houses, trying to make sure that we didn’t damage the flyers as we slid them into mailboxes and slots. One thing this job taught me was the importance of preparation and that you had no excuse for not working at a young age.
My next, and probably most exciting job, was at Farm Boy, which is now the Market Fresh at Blue Heron Mall on Bank Street. This job was a blast because it was me and a bunch of people from my high school. Matt Harper, Jason Wilson, Wayne Henry, Olivier, and Andrea Salvatore all made their rounds while I was there. It was remarkable that they gave us responsibility of running the meat department because we broke most of the rules. We cooked bacon on the seran wrap melter, used the meat chunks as punching bags. My final straw came when I punched a hole in the wall, but it was for a good reason. There was a rumor circling about one of the girls so boys made fun of her incessantly. So one day I decided to show her to punch properly, assuming that she would learn to fight back. Well in my demonstration of proper form, I was little too enthusiastic and punched a hole in the wall. Needlessly to say, they weren’t happy. Also, we didn’t clean up well in when we closed and everyone knows that happens to meat if you leave it out. I took firing well and made sure to liberate some meats on my last night. I’m not proud of myself for any of this, In fact, this was pretty much everything my parents told me not to do at work.
My following and more honest posting was at the Cantebury Community Center. I started off as volunteer doing my mandatory 40 hours before graduating high school. They decided to put me on the pay roll after my hours were done. That job was awesome because it was my friends Roger and Mark, and some other high school students watching kids for an after school program. The only “hard” part was trying to find simple activities that could entertain your groups. I remember there being three groups, 3-7,8-11, 10-13, I think. We would rotate between the age groups but I remember Roger working with the toddlers because he had a lot of siblings around that age. The kids were mostly well behaved but there were some with serious angerl issues. We were warned about them but there was nothing that could prepare you for a tantrum. We would just get our boss Maggie and she’d have to take the kid out of the activities. The best/worst moments would be the scwabbles with the toddlers. They would start argureing, one would start crying, then the other would too and then Mark and I would start laughing. The other counselors thought we were horrible but they couldn’t help laughing because we'd be giggling so hard. It was just funny because the kids would be cool a few minutes later
I had to get my first background check to get this job which wasn't too exciting. But what was exciting was meeting my younger, female self, Karima. She started volunteering around the time I got hired and from the start we just clicked. It went something like this. One day it her responsibility to mop and for some reason I was supervising her. She was horrible and I let her know; I’m pretty sure I finished her job. But we were both laughing so hard. And from that moments we’ve been spiritual twins. Even after she moved to Toronto, we stayed in contact, clicking up whenever either of us would visit the other respective city. There’s just something about our energy and randomness that, has never changed. I can’t will till we are old farts.
My next and final job before my animation career was working at the Clubhouse, a sports apparel store in the Rideau Center. I heard about the job through my sister who was working at the Sears inside the mall. She knew a guy, Komi, that was working at the Clubhouse, which at the time was a kiosk. I was desperately looking for work and conveniently that day the boss was in so I got meet him and hand in my resume. I was called for an interview a few weeks later, all the way in the suburbs of Kanata. I remember talking to my boss Chris a few years after I was highered about why he chose me. Apparently, during my interview, I just came off as a person who was really passionate and loyal t to his friends. I generally answered all his questions with a personal story which I guess humanized me. I didn’t come off like all the kids that wanted my job because of the fitted baseball caps. Those things were hotter the sun back then. Also, having previous work experience at a community center helped too apparently.
I’ve never been a person who prepares for job interviews, which probably isn’t the greatest. But for some reason, it hasn’t screwed me over. After hearing that a friend got well paying, “sophicated jobs” after talking comics for 80% of the interview, I think I go about it pretty well. I just try to let them know that I’m a dedicated and working person. Even though I was fiending for a job at the time, I never came across as desperate during the interview.
The perks of that job was that, being downtown, I would run into everyone, from family, to friends to random people I never liked in high school. I could also meet up easily if we were going out on a weekend. The down side was people shop lifting, which became a lil harder when weactually got a store location inside the mall but there was always the opportunity. For the most part, I worked alone, with maybe 2-3 hour overlap with my manager or coworker. Fun times were playing phone tag with my buddy Mark and my coworker Keith at the Kanata store on slow Sundays. Also, locking myself out of the store and making my manager come down to get me. I’ve had dreams where I’m working there again and they don’t feel too horrible, just the paranoia of theft!
Not going to dabble into my animation career too much cuz it’s late and there’s too much to cover. What I will say is that I applied to animation on the recommendation of my art teacher Mr. Ketcherson. I was planning on taking a year off to work and probably travel after high school but when it came time to apply my parents had other plans, There was no way they would let me putt off going to post secondary school. Mr. Ketcherson suggested that I apply to Graphic Design and Animation at Algonquin College in Ottawa. The Graphic Design portfolio was too hard so I just went with animation. I applied at a few other school but since they were all at least 3 times more, Algonquin was my choice when I got in. Animation was a beast. No social life, all nighters, classic memories and a big fat diploma in Digital Animation in the end.
Animation is still teaching me a lot of stuff about myself and my art. What I will say is that I have learned that I work better with a deadline. If I suck atsomething, with instruction, I will greatly improve. Lifedrawing is critical. You really get what you put in, this works for sex too. And finally, asking me not to be creative is like asking me to stop breathing. It would be really hard to get me to sit at a 9-5 job and not get fired for doobling or sexual harassment.
SHout outs to Mark for getting engaged to DInora. Here's hoping I don't need to buy another suit :)