Roll the dice! If your’e going to go for something go all the way, otherwise don’t even start. I’ve live my life by these words from Charles Bukowski’s poem “Roll the Dice”. Last winter my best friend Kyle and I found ourselves on a greyhound from Long Beach to Seattle for no real reason other than a challenge. We had a killer life in Long beach. Friends, great jobs, and a awesome apartment a few streets from the beach, but I am least happy when I get into a routine. needing a soul searching adventure I said to kyle, “dude what if we left town and told nobody, left our jobs friends and dropped ourselves in another state with no resources and better yet no money”. loving the idea kyle started packing his bags and we left the same day. That was one of the biggest adrenaline rushes of my life, I can still hear our laughter on the bus about the crazy impulsive decision we made. Without a beat we sent out resumes and began the job hunt rationing the bag of hot Cheetos between our seats. The adventure was a success, after about a week in Seattle we were both bar tending and had a apartment in the university district of Seattle. Living every moment like kings we ate the best and most expensive steaks and spent our nights watching the sun rise over a bottle with new friends. Most people who know me say i’m just lucky. Little do they know i’m not and i work hard at everything I do. What most people don’t know is kyle and I had a ace up our sleeve. We had the most carefully articulated resume on our computer. This resume was one of the biggest components to our survival. Most people would think that’s crazy after reading it because its so simple but that’s the beauty of it. Writing should be simple in many ways, the purpose of it is to convey a message after all. Anyway your’e probably wondering more about this magical resume but in order to help you understand it more ill have to back up a bit.
When kyle and I turned 21 we wanted to be bartenders. With no experience we hit every bar and restaurant with no luck, we must have just looked like a few kids with the worlds worst resume. Our first thought was okay, lets spice it up. We lied and said we had all the experience in the world, still no luck. kyle being the wordsmith of the two of us spent the whole night in frustration till he made the perfect resume that quickly hit every point that a manager wants to see while sounding professional and experienced. It then amazed me the power of words and the affect they have. within no time we were getting jobs hand over fist, at that point it seemed jobs were endless. Now we just had to live up to the words, which we of course didn’t at first. I can still remember my manager screaming ” WHAT THE HELL! you aced the interview but you know nothing!” that’s okay though because I took all those jobs as a crash course in quickly learning what i had to know for my next employer. From there the resumes had a snowball effect and our experience became real! after a few years I had about ten variations of resumes for different jobs all aimed towards the manager. I even had folders of different cover letters for different trades I knew. Cover letters for construction, restaurants, boating, bar tending and even creative resumes for art. When people ask my secret to getting jobs I show them my cover letter and they just roll their eyes and say that’s just one paragraph of obvious information! but I actually took hours of my time to sculpt and form the perfect sentence and paint the perfect picture. Knowing the reader was just going to glance at the email I had to entice them, pull them in, then quickly validate myself and skills. I’m now at the point where I can get jobs over just a few emails. But I did have an upper hand in some ways. I was told by my dad at a young age the power of words . I was lucky to have someone in my life to share this almost secret knowledge. With words you can have anything you want: The girl of your dreams, a great job, skill, trade, or even just getting a point across.
My dad played a huge part in my literacy development. I remember having to read to my dad on the way work with him, where I helped him at his cabinet shop over the summer. He always told me how smart I was and gave me the confidence that I was skilled at reading and writing the way he was. He always prided himself in his ability to teach himself anything. He would take me to the book store and I would be his little shadow. We would pick a stack of books and read them together while sipping coffee. Over the years he continued to be my literacy sponsor, to this day he only buys me books for holidays and birthdays, he usually picks books that are relevant to my current interests. When I was into boating he gave me Moby Dick, when I was into movies, tutorials on screen play writing and Joseph Campbells “The power of Myth”.
“BOOM! ZOOM! ZAP!” I would exclaim with excitement! My mother sighing, “this book again?” What could I say? Boom Zoom was the first and only book that spoke to me. Every night I would journey through space, and explore other galaxies with my alien partner in crime. I didn’t even care that I drove my mom crazy picking this book before bed every night. Actually, my obsession with BOOM ZOOM became a recurring inside joke between my mom and I as time went on. My mom was always trying to get me to pick a different book but i was relentless and hell bent on Boom Zoom being the only book for me.I guess she got me back eventually with a cruel and unusual punishment. Whenever I would misbehave I had to write a scripture from the bible hundreds of times! I now laugh at this punishment, at least she was instilling good moral rectitude. Its strange how we obey punishments at that age. I would always make sure I wrote the scripture a hundred times before turning it in to my mom even though she never counted.
“Role the dice”by Charles Bukowski to this day is the most influential piece of literature I’ve come across. This poem has become my mantra, applied daily to everything I do. I fell in love with Bukowski’s writing a few years back. I like his dirty gritty style. He seems to be rock star of writing. His work is also is similar to Tom waits ( my favorite musician ) I like when writers explore the darker sides of life, I feel like so much can be said, But Bukowski doesn’t limit himself either, he dares to be an optimist and “roll the rice” is a perfect example of that. From Bukowskis life changing poems to my mother disciplining me through writing scriptures, the sculpting of my literacy was endless. It was my dads belief that, if you were competent in reading and writing, you could have an advantage in life with anything from teaching yourself a skill through reading comprehension or the ability to get your point across. It was my grandmother who was my dads literary sponsor. It occurred to me that Passing down literacy through the family is like a intangible heirloom.