Wednesday, March 21, 2007

From Garbage Man to Shaggy: Part Two of It's All About My Brother!

If you missed out on Part One, click here!

As a brief recap, my brother was a lying liar who lied. A lot. Picking up approximately where we left off, surprisingly, the boy managed to graduate from high school. He probably graduated with the lowest GPA possible, but he did indeed graduate. During the summers, he had been employed on a near by farm as a berry picker. Once he was out of school, they brought him on full time through the end of pumpkin season, and he alternated between working the farm as a laborer and dressing up as a scarecrow and singing to the kids who came to pick pumpkins.

While he was doing his scarecrow shtick one day, a woman approached him and asked if he would be interested in a job as an assistant activities director at a nursing home. Or assistant to the activities director, I can't remember. He jumped at the chance and soon started learning a bunch of old timey war songs to sing at the old folks home. After he had been working there for a few weeks, he started to discover that some of the patients with more serious dementia would think he was their old buddy Joe, or their long lost nephew Pete. So he started acting like Joe and Pete. He would sit and talk with these folks for hours sometimes, and they loved it. Unfortunately, the funding for the activities department was cut, and with it his position. Since so many people there, both staff and residents, loved him, they offered him a position as a nurses aid. He soon found out that the only perk to being a nurses aid was that you get to wear scrubs to work. The rest of the job was shit. Literally, he was the guy who had to change all the adult diapers. He lasted about two weeks.

This lead to short stint as a garbage man. He went out and bought some coveralls, got up at 4am and hauled trash for all of five weeks. Every other day or so he would bring home some found item he thought was interesting, like old watches or lawn chairs. Eventually the early mornings got to him, though, so he decided that he was going to go to college!

Now how could my brother, who only graduated high school by the skin of his teeth, get into college, you ask? Well, he had been informed by some friends that a local state university would accept nearly anyone, and guess what? It did. In a few short weeks, he had taken placement exams, bought books and was registered for four classes. His plan was to become a music teacher, which really wasn't a bad idea. My parents worked out a deal with him as far as financing his education was concerned. If he continued to live at home, then they would pay for his any class he passed. He had to take out student loans up front, but once the report card came, they would pay him accordingly. In his first semester he had to take an English course, math, history and an education class.

For the first three weeks, everything was great. He would get up in the morning, drive to school, come home in the late afternoon and, to every one's shock, he would study! Without anyone holding a gun to his head or anything! He couldn't wait to bring home his first round of exams because he passed everything. We were all completely stunned. That's when things started to go down hill. He figured that since he had become such an effective student, he would be fine studying at the coffee shop on campus. And he might as well bring his guitar, since he would need to take a break every now and then, right? The folks at the coffee shop loved him, and soon he was playing at their open mic night. Then he started a band with some other college slacker types. He assured my parents that during this time he was still studying and getting passing grades, though no evidence of such ever materialized. Well, come January, it was revealed that my brother hadn't even been attending class since those first exams. He received an incomplete for each of the four classes he was taking.

The next few weeks were tenuous for my family. My parents wanted to kick him out, but they knew that with no job, he would end up on a friend's couch or worse. Since they couldn't ground him anymore, they just stopped speaking to him unless necessary. He was forced to prepare his own meals and do his own laundry. It was sad times for everyone. One night, he decided that instead of sitting in the chamber of silence, he would venture out to the ill fated coffee house.

His whole life was changed that night. When he got there a friend handed him a flier. There was going to be an open call audition for Busch Gardens' entertainment department in a week. Specifically, they were looking for a male who could sing, play guitar and roller blade. He was a shoe-in, and everyone knew it.

Three weeks later, he was living in my grandparents' condo near Tampa, rehearsing and being fitted for costumes. He had secured a part in Moroccan Roll. At first, he played Boy 2, which was the roller blading guitarist part, but eventually he worked his was up to Boy 1, which was the lead roll! There was a little snack bar near the stage pavilion, and a cute girl who worked there would always give him free ice cream. Her name was Raney, and soon they started dating. Eventually they moved in together. Dan became the musical director for the show and they got a dog. Life was grand.

Out of nowhere, the show closed. Life was not so grand.

They hauled everything up and moved to Orlando, where Raney got a better job at Sea World and Dan got no job. He had been hoping to secure a position at Universal Studios, but they weren't hiring at the time. He applied at Tower Records and at a landscaping business, but nothing panned out. Finally a part time position opened up at Universal, and he accepted, hoping it would lead to a full time gig. For almost a year, he worked seven hours as week as a vehicle escort. There are several shows in which the actors drive through the park in character, such as the Blues Brothers and the cast ofScooby Doo. His job was to walk five feet in front of the vehicle and clear a path through the crowd. It was very dull work, to say the least. During this time, though, he did become friends with the guy who played Jake in the Blues Brothers show. They would hang out back stage between shows and jam. When the roll of Elwood J. Blues opened up, my brother was asked to audition. He was hired and started performing regularly as half of the Soul Man duo. Since he still wasn't getting quite full time hours, he wasn't getting benefits, but that was soon to change. The roll of Shaggy opened up as well, and being 6' 3", 170 pounds, and kind of a doofas gave my brother a distinct advantage over the other guys auditioning.

These days, he alternates between driving around in the Mystery Machine yelling 'Zoinks!' and wearing shades while singing Rubber Biscuit. He gets paid well to do the things he loves. He has a woman he adores, a cat, a dog and nine guitars. He's in a band that just performed at the Orlando House of Blues. By all accounts, I'd say he has a pretty nice life. I'm pretty sure he thinks so, too.

P.S. We are all feeling better today. Thanks everyone for your good vibes!

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Sudiegirl said...

Wow...fate opens up in mysterious ways, huh?


radioactive girl said...

What a wonderful story! I always say that if you just follow life, it will lead you where you were meant to be.

janet said...

great story...i was looking foward to part 2- i guess i'm a "triumph of the human spirit" kind of gal...
in your opening line you said a liar who lies,lies...etc. it reminded me of this MAD tv skit. There's this guy whos a pain in the office and he call people a "liar, liar and a sneaky snake"
you just reminded me of that. thought you should know. glad your feeling better too!

Amy Jo said...

Al Franken wrote a book called 'Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them' which is where that came from, but I like the way you think!

super des said...

That was a good story. And it made perfect sense. I like that people kept offering him jobs.

Yay for brother!

Lora said...

let me guess, your brother went to Cal?

And i will get to the post office, and I got your package yesterday! LOVES it! Thank you so much!