Kat was on the other side of the bar. She smiled as she engaged herself in conversation with the others gathered there. I vigorously shook the cocktail shaker. The sound of ice hitting metal rang out across the small bar; all heads turned toward me with alacrity normally reserved for gunshots. I strained the shaker’s colourful contents into the glass. While all other eyes were mesmerized by the dance of the alcohol as it sashayed into the glass, Kat’s eyes were on me. This was the fifth original cocktail I had created with the intent to give to the proprietor for free, and though she was still smiling, the glimmer in her eyes belied her thoughts. It said, “By Gods are you going to hear it later.”
It was a tirade I had heard before, “Why don’t you sell X skill instead of giving it away?!” Yet another in a series of individuals very upset with me, quite possibly because they had read far too much Rand and not enough Rousseau. This time it was different though. This time it was coming from her. My best friend, this impatient, driven woman who at the same time is quite possibly the most understanding and loving person I have ever met. Though in not so few words, the base question was this: “Why aren’t you using your talent to make sure both of us have a better life?” Many people had argued that I capitalize on my skills before, but not until now had I heard it and interpreted it like this.
Helen had a face that could launch a thousand ships, but only Katerina can make a hard-core anarchist consider starting a business.
I am burdened by many knowledges and skills. In thirty years’ time I have experienced and been exposed to more than some people venture to deal with over the course of their lives (I’m also very humble). I have lived abroad on multiple occasions; seen at least 35 of the contiguous US states; speak English, Mandarin Chinese, and French, along with a smattering of Ancient Greek and Macedonian (thanks Kat!); I can play three musical instruments; am incredibly well read by English language standards; have engaged myself in multiple sciences from an early age, starting with Geology and moving on to Biology, then to Developmental Neuropsychology and Linguistics. I am well versed in history and folklore. My family history is well known to me and I can trace some branches back to somewhere around 900 AD. I have managed a band, know both fencing and archery, and have taught myself to use numerous production soft-wares starting from the Adobe Suite, and ranging on into music production programmes, and even into 3d rendering and animation. My father was a computer programmer and I have been able to punch in basic code since I was five. I know exactly how your phone works. I spent close to 6 months in Iraq helping Special Forces track down terrorists that I suspect to this day were more than likely innocent. I have logged over 200 hundred flight hours as military aircrew, an experience which only reaffirmed my positions that 1) There is no such thing as benevolent government, and 2) as a person brought up in a more-or-less English household, I do not belong in the US. I digress. I can cook very well (Cajun is my specialty), and I may have forgotten more cocktails than some bartenders ever learn over the course of their careers. I can, and have brewed as well. I have lit a fire on a frozen lake in the middle of winter and kept it going for nearly 20 minutes. I have learned that I am handy with a rifle, but dangerous with a pistol. At one point in my life I was also an ordained minister in my faith (hyperlink here). Once I even managed to watch the Star Wars Prequels without wanting to kill Jar Jar Binks.
As crazy as all this may sound, it’s all true. I’ve done all of this and more (except for the Jar-Jar thing). There is only one thing I’ve consistently wanted to do with my life however, and that is draw cartoons. I’ve been drawing cartoons since I was six and it has never left me. I am fascinated by cartoons and animation. They consume me. When I was eight, my biological clock was attuned to the time that Inspector Gadget came on.
So when the message that I should finally try to capitalize on all these experience finally reached me after Kat’s berratio….speech, it was only natural that I place the focus on cartoons. I wasn’t ready for animation, but I could draw a single shot cartoon like nobody’s business.
I had many friends suggest prior to Kat’s plea that I use my cartooning skills to make shirts, but it had little appeal to me until she said it. Money had no appeal to me, until she said it. Because she to me, is the best friend that little boy who spent his life moving around always wanted, the friend you get to keep. That is worth all the money in the world. Let’s start a T-shirt company.