Oh Aughts, You Were Something

by jvaragona

The past 10 years for me have been bookended by two life changing events on complete opposite ends of the emotional spectrum. My brother, Matt, passed away on February 21, 2000. That was shortly after the high of seeing our St. Louis Rams win the Super Bowl with The Greatest Show On Turf on January 30, 2000. I hit rock bottom after Matt died. It made me experience emotions I didn’t think were possible. I quit school, started chain smoking, and amassed credit card debt that I still have remnants of today.

To make something positive of it and get out of a funk, I thought up and helped organize a dinner/silent auction/rock concert in his memory on March 30, 2001 (video here and here). We raised $19,000 towards research through what is now the Vasculitis Foundation. I consider it my greatest accomplishment aside from my son.

Shortly after, in May of ’01, I met my wife, well, she was just some chick at the time that I lapdanced for, later my wife. She straightened me up, making me quit smoking and go back to school if I wanted to get any closer to her. It worked. I graduated in May of ’05. And I asked her to marry me that night by singing a version of “That’s Amore” accompanied by my friend Dan on accordion surrounded by friends, family, and rose petals. We tied the knot in May of ’06.

Together we had adventures with a shitty landlord and mice. I was laid off from a job in the Italian Retail Service shortly after we were wed. What doesn’t kill you only makes you bitter, or something. We survived though.

I went on to be a traveling baby photographer exposing me to a wide variety of people. My days took me from trailer parks to mansions. At least the jobs I get keep me entertained.

From there I ended up at InkStop, a great opportunity, so I was told. It did pay well and helped us get our first home. We actually moved in days before my son was born. Things were going great, but I saw signs that this employer would go down horribly, and it did. I’ve been unemployed for about 3 months now except for a gig promoting phones for a few weeks. The nice thing is I’ve been able to spend time with my son and he can get to know me more, because I was working a pretty hefty schedule since January.

I’ve had to grow a lot during this decade. Some of that came a lot sooner than I thought it would. You roll with the punches though. This decade has been a learning experience and except for the whole job thing, I feel like I’m heading in the right direction now thanks to my wife, son, family, and friends. I’m hoping the teens go easy on me though.

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