“The Three Easy Steps to Ultimate Success” (abridged version), pt.2

Posted on February 9th, 2010 8 great comments. Room for one more!

…continued from previous part.

So have you discovered how your life would be like a living dream if only you could _____________? Excellent!

At this point, many success-seeking guides would jump right into planning. The silly bastards. Now is when one learns to rein in one’s expectations.

Step 2 – I Didn’t Realize It Would Suck This Much

shadow, silhouette, sand, woodbine beach, toronto, city, life

That’s me holding still for 15 seconds. I think it’s fair to say it was cold that night. But, I told myself I had to do it. No not the pose – well, yes, a little bit – but mostly I was there for the sand and surf. The most desolate time of the winter – the starkest of beaches. Way cool. I was extremely happy to be able to grab a warm streetcar back home afterward, don’t get me wrong, but I feel like I really earned these photos. I took every shot 3 times just for good measure.

Perseverance is a must. Plus, you pick up a lot of new things along the way that can end up being very useful later on. For example, I discovered that pure, concentrated pool-strength chlorine ooze can feel like jelly when you walk on it. Except it’s not! It’s the soles of your feet!

Haha! No, seriously, that was my first summer job. Totally unqualified lifeguard at a Czech community centre. I have no idea why they even had a pool; it was on the far end of a good stretch of land, over a steep and rocky climb up the main driveway, which was attached to a very gently trafficked stretch of road that meandered lazily through the valley. The community centre owned the property bordering that road – big enough for a generous public park. The entire summer, I believe we had two, possibly three customers.

I say we because halfway through my stint the management decided to wise up and hire an actual lifeguard. Unfortunately, the slight Asian kid seemed to be afraid of water, and definitely wanted nothing to do with chlorine. He tried to help me add it to the pool once but only managed to spill it on the deck and onto aforementioned feet. He squealed as he dropped it. I’ll never forget that squeal. It’s burned into my memory.

boardwalk, light pole, park bench, woodbine beach, toronto, city, life

But I should stress that, having witnessed previous similar performances, I kept my expectations of him low and kept near to the water’s edge just in case. Which turned out to be exactly the right thing to do. So back to the topic at hand, if you kind of expect that things might suck a little, that’ll cushion the blow if they actually do. And if they don’t … g r e a t !

I followed the pool job with a jab at slinging hot dogs at Exhibition Stadium. I wasn’t expecting miracles. Nope. Caribana ended up being a total bust. I ended up thirty bucks in the hole — we bought from the people who ran the concessions and sold at a markup to the crowd, if we could sell it. We got an hourly pay but since most events lasted only one to two hours, and after deductions, that was just enough to buy a beer on the way home. I don’t remember if I was old enough to drink yet. Regardless, it was mostly to keep the business legit, not how we got paid.

Despite some crummy events there were also ones that brought down the house. Pink Floyd let loose there, as did the Rolling Stones, and a few other people also. Our passes allowed us to wander around pretty much uninhibited, so we would sometimes just clump together at some aisle section near the stage to watch the show. Then we’d disperse to continue selling hot dogs, or coke, or popcorn, or whatever we’d decided to carry that night. Or stay and keep rockin’ out. And I must be honest, drunk / high revellers are absolute dears when it comes to tipping. Ten bucks, keep the change, on a five dollar sale, on average. And that was already marked up!

We had many beers on those nights.

bicycle racks, bike, boardwalks, sand, woordbine beach, light pole, can, toronto, city, life

Perseverance, in other words, is just giving something a chance. Of course, if there’s something you really want to do, perseverance could also mean the drive to go after it. You know, when life hands you lemons, you punch life in the face and rub those lemons in the open wounds. Asshole.

I think I could also suit it to meet my own needs and say that perseverance can also be defined as getting through something. I think that would still apply to the Woodbine Beach scenario. Sometimes, the path ahead is simply not yet paved – be sure to wear sensible footwear and watch your step. Or, in my case, the path ahead is just too damned long to see more of the same thing. Yeah, park benches, boardwalk, sand – I get it.

woodbine beach, park benches, boardwalk, tethers, lake ontario, light pole, night, toronto, city, life

Finally, keep those plans tucked away safe. Boy, I gotta tell ya, there’s nothing worse than telling someone your intentions only to not go through with them. As someone with plenty of experience in that area, let me tell you that they don’t make hides thick enough to protect you from your own foot in your own ass.

By the way, I’m turning “The Three Easy Steps to Ultimate Success” into a comic book. It’s going to be a murder mystery set in the thirties with lots of action and intrigue. I think the kids of today would be hip to that sort of thing. Haven’t decided on a name yet but I’m leaning toward something with the word “Noir” in the title. I know the kids’ll dig that.

woodbine beach, park bench, boardwalk, light pole, sand, winter, night, toronto, city, life

Continued in next part…

deck building

8 Comments on “ “The Three Easy Steps to Ultimate Success” (abridged version), pt.2 ”

  • Grace
    February 10th, 2010 7:38 am

    That second photo is amazing…


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  • Patrick
    February 10th, 2010 2:28 pm

    Thanks, Grace :)


  • stanya
    February 10th, 2010 12:25 pm

    Hello Patrick. To complete Grace's comment, not only the second one but all those pictures are absolutely incredibly beautiful. My compliment to you.

    Did you hear good news? This guy Giambrone gave up race for mayor, not because of my complaint (feel sorry for myself) but because he was so stupid being next in the line of sex scandals. Those gyus are unpredictable, you never know how much money or arrogance they have to have to feel untouchable. But I mean good for all of us mainly for Torontonian. Who needs larger coat from dishonour?


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  • Patrick
    February 10th, 2010 2:30 pm

    I heard about Giambrone this morning too, Stanya. I knew he wouldn't make mayor, but this came out of left field. At least he bowed out early — I believe he ran for exactly 10 days.


  • Kato
    February 10th, 2010 1:07 pm

    I love every single picture on the second page. I like the ones on the first page two, but second page photos are stupendous.


    Read more from Kato at: http://www.pandorahsbox.blogspot.com
  • Patrick
    February 10th, 2010 2:31 pm

    Many thanks as always, Kato. If you keep likin' em, I'll keep postin' em. To be honest, though, these are not my faves. The U of T campus ones are much more fun.


  • Renee
    February 16th, 2010 7:16 am

    I agree with the photo comments too (I'm so unoriginal) but I DO love them!!! keep up the good work. Will we see the UofT pics? or have you already posted them and I just haven't read far enough ahead yet? :)


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  • Patrick
    February 16th, 2010 8:20 am

    You just haven't read far enough yet, Renee :) The U of T series starts in the next post.