Once Upon a Time
Around this time last year, I wanted to challenge myself by trying my hand in the blue-collar field. Fresh off a year-long break where I cheerfully worked from home to focus on my first book and the perils of self-publishing (running away from a career in corporate at the speed of light), I thought of the brilliant idea of applying to Amazon and becoming a part-time delivery driver. What did I have to lose? I'd become my own boss for over a year, mentally unprepared to relinquish that title, so this job was about as close to it as I could get. As per Amazon drivers I've encountered over the years:
"With this job, there isn't anyone standing over you. You kinda just drive and do your own thing."
Say no more!
I gave it the 'ol college try and actually enjoyed it - EXCEPT for:
Those days where temperatures soared to the upper 90s and I was sweating like Patrick Ewing at the free throw line; or when routes took me into the woods, apartment buildings without elevators or downtown districts where parking was limited (if I took too long making my way around the building I'd usually be greeted with a traffic ticket from an unforgiving cop - deducted from your paycheck, might I add); or better yet, those glorious days being assigned to deliver in sketchy neighborhoods, (holding my urine) where the only time I felt safe was inside of my truck pulling off 🤦🏾♂️
Oh, the memories...
Keep in mind, I'm a NYC guy - born and raised - having lived through the grittiness of the 80s and early 90s. I'd like to think I've seen and dealt with EVERYTHING. But life as an Amazon delivery driver is a different animal. Imagine dropping off packages in the 'hood, with onlookers commonly advising that you not leave items at the doorstep of a customer who wasn't home? Ummm, isn't that what DELIVERING is all about?
"YO! I wouldn't do that if I were you. It ain't gonna be there when they get back!"
All in a day's work, but in the end, I didn't have the mental capacity to deal with the chaos, nor was my body cut out for the day to day grind no matter how much of a gym rat I'd become over the years. I'd arrive home, drenched, drained, battered and bruised... like boxing against the '88 version of Mike Tyson. Don't get me wrong, I absolutely loved the freedom of a driver, frequently visiting the exquisite homes of some handsomely-paid individuals, but after a couple of months, I waved the white flag. No mas!
The moral of the story is, I had the ability to leave on my own and was very fortunate not to skip a beat concerning household expenses. Unfortunately, there are many people currently working frontline jobs who can't afford to get out of the line of fire so easily. This is how they survive and feed their families. Besides, finding a new job probably isn't the easiest of things right now. The eye-popping issues I'd encounter during my trial-run as a driver is considered child's play compared to those who deal with this five, sometimes six days a week - on top of working through the current Covid-19 pandemic. We can't forget about them.
I am here to tell you first hand, delivery driving isn't some walk-in-the-park job. It isn't as simple as driving at your own leisure, delivering packages while whistling The Andy Griffith Show theme song. Sorry. You're dealing with all types of people, scenarios, visiting all types of environments - 365 days of the year. The job never ends - pandemic and all. The next time we think about throwing a fit because our packages weren't "delivered on time," let's take some time by putting things in its proper perspective. Probably NOW more than ever.
ANYTHING But 'Tiger King!'
While many of us are stuck in quarantine looking for an escape, sadly, it appears the world (or maybe just celebs and regular folk in general) have gone Tiger King crazy in the process. Why? What's the appeal and how can we make it stop?
As you can detect, Can I Be Ernest? is not a fan; admittedly, I haven't watched a single episode. Am I being judgemental? Guilty as charged! What do I have against Tiger King? Quite frankly, I haven't figured it out. If I had to take a guess, it probably stems from how quickly society has gravitated towards the series, while other explosive programs on the popular streaming service have gone unnoticed. In other words, this is all of YOUR fault!
What's the fascination for idiots who collect, abuse and exploit wild animals (the apparent premise of Tiger King) when there are other shows on Netflix highlighting the abuse and exploitation of HUMAN life (remember us?). Am I missing something? It further proves that our current climate is a 'monkey see, monkey do' one. Probably now more than ever. Once an "influential" voice stamps their approval of anything, whether in fashion, lifestyle, or something unexpected... like NETFLIX SHOWS, we tend to bite the bait and lose all site of subjectivity. Seemingly, 34.3 million people watched Tiger King on its opening week. Everyone except for me, of course.
With hopes of grabbing your attention to a few of Netflix's other featured choices, this is where I direct you to my list. Unbeknownst to me, many of these docu-series/documentaries were released a few years ago (before receiving the green light from Netflix), quite possibly the lone reason they've gone unmentioned. However, they are now widely available to the viewing audience. The impact of these programs can be felt today, tomorrow, forever...
3) Wild Wild Country- A powerful documentary about a controversial Indian guru, his cult-like following and their vigorous influence over a community in Wasco Country, OREGON (bet you didn't see that one coming). It's a 6-part series sure to keep you glued to the screen.
2) One of Us- As someone who grew up in NYC where there's a strong Hasidic Jewish presence, I've always been mildly intrigued by their community and mystified by their lifestyle. This film covers that, documenting three former members of the Brooklyn Hasidic community and their struggles after opting out of the group. Each story reveals explosive details, uncovering some hidden truths that are sure to blow you away.
1) LA 92- If you're a fan of Los Angeles inner-city culture, palm trees and Jheri curls, I'd suggest you watch this documentary. The film dissects the infamous Watts Riots of 1965, the election of a particular state official, the shooting of Latasha Harlins and of course, the Rodney King beating (by members of the LAPD captured on film) catapulting the violence and rioting thereafter. Personally, the images of this film were powerful enough to win every cinematic award there is. In fact, I plan on re-watching it over the weekend. You can feel the emotions through the screen, leaving you at times incensed yet saddened; hopeless yet consciously aware. Not only does the acquittal of the officers still amaze me (although it probably shouldn't), but the fact this incident happened nearly 30 years ago! feeling like it was only yesterday). Where has the time gone?
LA 92 is a sad reminder of the blatant social injustice many people of color encounter here in America, but it is certainly a must-see for those of you who weren't alive at the time or perhaps living under a rock.
Take THAT, Tiger King!