A guest post by Stuart Antrim:
Mayo wants me to write a guest post for the Dip Skinny, but I’m just a newbie hack. Don’t even always write in complete sentences. But I have written quite a few Dip-related events calendars, website pages and newsletter emails over the last 12 years or so. Mr. B. always tells me, “It ain’t braggin’ if ya done it.” He’s one of our members and the best mentor ever. I think that quote was from a movie he saw or something, or maybe it was Gunsmoke. You may have already noticed my habit of staying focused.
I’ve written other things as well, sadly delivering terrible news from time to time, to let Dip folks know of dreadful things, losses, tragedies. Other times I have been privileged to bring wonderful amazing news…
So in fact I guess I have written more than…Dang it Mayo, what’ve you gotten me into here? OK, so maybe “newbie hack” isn’t exactly accurate. I’ll meet you halfway and drop the “newbie.” This just feels different from all that other stuff I wrote, and I’m the one who gets to decide how it feels, not you, Mr. Pie. So there. Now if you want me to do this post you’re going to have to pipe down.
The point is (thank God) all that stuff I wrote was for a limited readership of Dip folks. Subbing for Mayo is a much bigger soapbox, and it’s really giving me the creeps. So you just keep your pants off and bare with me, Mayo will be back soon. Now with that out of the way…
For those who don’t know me, I’ve been doing this Dip gig in one capacity or another for over 13 years. At first, I simply volunteered to DJ on Saturday nights for Paul the owner and George the manager so the folks my age could dance. We weren’t quite so concerned with joint health in those days. Everyone thought it was a great idea, except usually the DJ is supposed to have equipment and millions of songs and lights and stuff. I didn’t have any of that crap. The park had a couple of PA speakers and a mixer. I dug up a portable CD player built during the Truman administration, a small stack of CD’s, and a wee black plastic strobe light. (I bet you’re starting to head-bang and chair-dance a little just thinking about it, aren’t you? It’s OK, just let it out.) It was primitive, but our parties were awesome from the start, and I just called a portable CD player “primitive” because I’m trying to relate to the young’uns better and that’s how they think these days.
Way back then I ran the lab for a small manufacturing company in a “historic” part of downtown Atlanta. That’s “ran the lab,” as in the only one who worked there, but I could pretend I was in the Bat-Cave forging batarangs instead of what I was really doing which was diabolically boring. This historic area had plenty of historic tall weeds that grew in the middle of the historic ruins of many historic warehouses and alleys which provided a habitat for lots of historic street people with really groovy handles like “Cowboy” and “Shaky.” They called me “Sup.” It was cute. For 11 years I did this, so kids, be sure to stay in school!
After the savagery of 9/11/2001, the company moved to Pittsburgh but I stayed put. With no job. And so it came to pass that in March of 2003 I was accessible when the Dip needed someone to replace the someone who had replaced George the manager. I moved into the park and began beefing up my CD collection and my tan. I never did finish unpacking (because I’m so focused.)
Noun: The occurrence and development of events by chance in a happy or beneficial way: “a fortunate stroke of serendipity”.
True story: on the Saturday morning that I called the Dip to ask Paul for the position, I couldn’t get through because at that same moment Paul was trying to reach me in order to hire me.
I often make the boast that “Whenever I like, I can walk to work, naked, with a beer in my hand.” That’s just my way of saying how much I love it and I was born to do it. Most days I feel like I’m pretty good at some of it. And it helps to be blessed with a business partner and a team that is stupendous, awesome, hard-working, supportive, funny, and loves it like I do. I can’t imagine doing anything else. Ever. The members are incredible too, as evidenced by their recent national award for being fabulous.
I know it’s awesome, and it’s OK to be envious, but no, you can’t have my job.
Speaking of Gunsmoke, did you know that James Arness and Peter Graves were brothers?
Thanks for the invite, M.P. Hope I didn’t get too much beer on your blog.