I’m Not Heisenberg

Breaking Bad eyes?

My daughter’s spring break coincided with my birthday this year. It was nice to have her home to mark my 53rd lap around the calendar. I worked all day on Tuesday and didn’t get home until 7:30. It was good that I was working at a new job. It was bad that it was at a job that I hate.

The boss is a nice enough man, but the pay is rotten, the work is uninteresting, and the working conditions are poor. It’s always cold. As we sat down to dinner, I didn’t think about how far I have fallen in my career. Instead, we joked around and laughed – my wife, our two daughters, and me.

My nights have been restless for a very long time. There are few respites from the worry over debt. The picking and choosing of who gets paid and who doesn’t can put a crimp in anyone’s outlook, but playing the woe is me card is boring, no matter how suitable it is.

Peaks and valleys are a part of life, so the next great opportunity may pop up tomorrow, or never. That’s a pretty big gap. It’s about as wide as being told that things will get better and actually believing that they will. Blind faith is a positive thing for many, but to me it’s useless. I’m not in the habit of lying to myself just to get through another day.

There’s nothing cheery about anything that I’ve written here so far. Birthdays are supposed to be about cheer. They are supposed to be about celebrating survival. Longevity is appealing. I’d rather be here than not, but that alone is not nearly enough.

During dinner, the birth stories made an appearance. My wife and I couldn’t remember ours, of course, but we have no trouble remembering the births of our daughters. The eldest really hates those stories. Just then, I became my mom. She’s a demonstrative storyteller who can place herself in the moment when she reminisces. Some stories have been retold dozens of times with each rendition as vibrantly conveyed as the last. It’s like she’s in The Zone. My daughter’s embarrassment only makes me want to tell more. It’s a perverse way to show affection, I know, but the fun is undeniable.

Over time, my daughters have learned how to select presents for me. Utility trumps glitz. A pair of sweatpants that I will wear for years until the fabric is in tatters easily beats jewelry that will sit in a drawer. New shorts for the summer are always welcome. I have all of the technology that I need, so there’s no reason for them to spend a lot of money on the latest gizmo. Besides, when my wife sent me a text saying that she wants to use the credit card that I always leave at home for emergencies to “buy a couple of things,” I knew that I would be funding the purchase of my presents.

Ray - 20130318sDads, you know the drill.

The presents themselves aren’t really important, only the effort is. My girls like to make Daddy’s birthday special. They always succeed just by being there.

Fifty-three years is a long time. As a teen, I thought that thirty was ancient. After dinner, my wife and daughters unanimously suggested that I do away with the gray hair by dying it. I probably won’t – too much trouble and maintenance. They didn’t insist, but their offer to help stands. I countered with:

“I’m thinking of cutting it all off like Michael Jordan.”

They all shook their heads.

“You don’t know if you have the right type of head for that, until it’s too late!”

It’s worked for Walter White, a.k.a. “Heisenberg”. The Breaking Bad character is only six-months older than me. He’s married, has two children, and was dissatisfied with his career.

Maybe it’s time for me to do a little breaking bad of my own.



If you draw, paint, or Photoshop, download my picture and show me what I would look like with a shaved head.

Email your creation to me and I’ll add it to the post.

Let’s have some fun!

For inspiration, here’s Mike Robins on YouTube displaying his talent by drawing Walter White.

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Ray Colon

He works with numbers for a living, but don't judge - boring accountants need love too. His blog has no niche (unless writing about things that are important to him is a niche). Some folks cringe when he gets “all political” on them, but he does it anyway when he's in that kind of mood. Sometimes, he writes something nice about someone, but you shouldn't get used to that. His first book, the one he hasn't written yet, is not available on Amazon. Subscribe to Ray's Blog via RSS  or Email.

22 thoughts on “I’m Not Heisenberg”

  1. Hi Ray,
    I recall the days I didn’t trust anyone over 30. Those days endured until I passed that benchmark. I used to think 50 was a milestone birthday too but I also surpassed it. At 55 I decided to stop coloring my hair. Now I’m growing it long again.

    It will be interesting to see what others produce when it comes to depicting your head without hair. I saw mine bald years ago and noted head injuries I had left me with some unattractive hills and valleys on my skullscape.

    I want to wish you a very happy 53rd year. May it be characterized by unexpected opportunities to prosper that result in good fortune, as well as, lots of love and laughter.
    timethief recently posted..Weekend Blogging Reads and ResourcesMy Profile

    1. Hi TiTi,

      Maybe we still shouldn’t trust anyone over 30. 🙂

      Was coloring your hair as much of a chore as I make it out to be? It seems like a lot of effort. I see all of the time that my daughters invest in their hair and it makes me cringe. I tell them to add up the time and expense, but they just give me the “You don’t understand” look.

      I hope that some readers do make submissions. I’d love to see them. I’m sure that there are scars on mine from playing sports, but I don’t know how noticeable they would be.

      Thanks for the birthday wishes. They’re appreciated. Looking forward to tomorrow.

  2. Hi Ray,

    Congrats on the new job! I am so sorry you hate it. Hopefully you at least work with interesting people. Or at least people whose lives are so … whatever they provide lots of blog fodder! Money is money so at least you are making more now than you have been recently. I know none of this is cheering you up. Just remember, I know how you’re feeling. I’ve been there. Well, I am the wife of someone who has been there. It’s not easy nor is it any fun.

    Happy belated birthday! It sounds like you had a good time with your family. Keep embarrassing your kids. That’s one of the best perks of being a parent.

    If you do decide to dye your hair let me know how it goes. These silver strands can only pass for glittery highlights for so long! I could never shave my head. I take after my mom and have a very small head. I think it would look silly on top of my broad shoulders. As far as you shaving your head, do what feels right. After all, you joined the whole Afro craze back in the day! I hate to say it but it’s too bad you didn’t experiment when you weren’t working. You know, skip shaving your face to shave your head.

    Life may not get any better so enjoy the blessings you do have. So you hate your job. You’re not alone in that. You still have a wonderful family who love you and spent a happy birthday with you. And you have tons of bloggy buddies who genuinely care about you. Life can’t be all bad. The Big Bang Theory has been having a great season. I get my ab workout laughing every Thursday at the show. Hang in there. Big cheesy smile from me with spinach caught in my teeth. (That was supposed to make you laugh. Come on, out loud!)

    🙂 Tristan
    Tristan recently posted..Walking in FaithMy Profile

    1. Hi Tristan,

      It did make me laugh. 🙂

      Even though I’m not happy there, I give the job 100%. The place needs organizing, so that effort fills in the gaps of the mundane. If the pay was better, I’d stay a while, but I’ve already spoken to him about my continuing job search. He’d like me to stay, but it’s not in the cards.

      Thanks for the birthday wish. I did better this year than last, when I waited months before mentioning it and then wrote that it went by unnoticed. Remember that? LOL

      The “Oh, no, they’re at it again” look from the girls is too funny to resist. It just eggs me on.

      Yes, the idea of taking the razor to my head while idle would have made more sense, except that there were still the periodic interviews to consider. Having just met me, it probably wouldn’t have seemed odd to them, but I would have felt uncomfortable.

      I do have blessings, and I don’t ever take them for granted, but the need to provide is always a concern. It’s what keeps me up at night. Like you said, the situation isn’t unique, as many folks are in the same boat — or worse. I understand that. It keeps me from venting too often.

  3. Ray, keep on truckin’. Hope the good times at home can go some distance to balancing the drudgery of work.

    Also, here’s some things I just learned about 53 on the internet:

    This year a 53 year old man became the oldest winner of the Iditarod, a year after his son was the youngest man to win it.

    Based on a poll of 2000 people conducted by The Telegraph, men are at their most romantic at age 53.

    Adrian Paul from the Highlander series is 53 this year.

    I’m not going to try to connect some sort of meaning from these facts. They are what they are.
    Neal recently posted..My daughter and David BowieMy Profile

    1. Hi Neal,

      Thanks, I will “keep on truckin’,” or as Curtis Mayfield would say, “Keep on keeping on.” http://youtu.be/t-l91O9VxN0

      Those are some unusual facts about fifty-three. I’ve never been on a dogsled, I’m definitely not at my most romantic, and I’ve never watched Highlander, but I get your meaning. I got this from Wiki: “In How the Grinch Stole Christmas!, and its animated TV special the Grinch says he’s put up with the who’s Christmas cheer for 53 years.”

      Maybe I’ll end up carving some delicious Roast Beast sometime soon. 🙂 Want some?

    1. Hi Denise,

      Thanks for the birthday wish.

      There haven’t been any photos submitted yet. It would have been cool to see, but I’m beginning to doubt that I’ll receive any.

  4. Happy belated birthday Ray! Great to have your daughter home.

    I’m with you, I don’t want something to collect dust, but something useful. My current favorites are books and useful plants. (Seeds, bulbs etc). My husband is learning that a flowering plant such as an echinecia or lavender lasts for years vs cut flowers. His favorite gift is having one of his favorite home cooked meals, and a made from scratch oatmeal cake or carrot cake.

    Congrats on the job, may things get better.

    1. Hi Heidi,

      Thanks, it was fortunate timing.

      Books are a good gift, but it’s sometimes difficult to know what someone else would be interested in reading. I’d love to be able to do some planting. It’s been a long winter here and another snowstorm is predicted to arrive on Monday. Hopefully it will be the last one for the season. Send some Texas warmth up here, will ya?

      1. It is a little cooler here for a couple of nights, might even freeze. No snow, don’t mind sending some Texas warmth. I’m counting on it being our last freeze, my tomato seedlings are ready to plant. Grass is green, some of the trees have leaves, others are blooming.

        Books, yes it is hard to know what someone wants or even what they have. Fortunately I can make an Amazon wish list, doesn’t even have to be all books.
        Heidi Caswell recently posted..Finding Free Images for Your WebsiteMy Profile

  5. Hope your 53rd was fun, as you reflect on it Ray. (Here from a post by @PeterFaur.)

    I know you must be glad to have a job – even if it’s not suitable. So many are under-employed or without jobs altogether. Sad state of affairs, but as you suggest there is little point in self-pity.

    Who knew we’d have to be pioneers at this late date carving out new territory in our working lives — one that bears little resemblance to the skills we’ve been well-paid for in the past. Life has so many little presents for us to open!

    A job, family and two cakes for your birthday is a good start down the road of your 53rd year – hope your journey gets easier, and your footsteps fall lightly on the ground as you go.
    Mary E Haight ( recently posted..Pet Safety, Who Determines Pet Product Safety?My Profile

    1. Hi Mary,

      You’re right. I am glad to have that job despite my misgivings. It’s been difficult to escape the sense of being trapped, as any time spent there was time that I wasn’t spending trying to find something else. Since writing this post, I’ve decided to let go of that fear and try to make the most of the situation while I’m there. Resumes can continue to go out in the evenings and on weekends.

      The pioneering aspect has been a bit bewildering. One thing that I have taken away from this process is that being good at your job doesn’t prepare you for being a good job-seeker, where often a totally different set of skill is required.

      Thanks for the birthday wish. It was a good evening.

  6. Congrats. on getting a pay cheque….at least it’s money for food, etc. I felt that way for 1 of my jobs and it was a long, long commute. When I plodded through the mud, snow slush at the construction site…I wondered what the pay back for all this was in addition to the pay cheque.

    Well the payback was a blog post (which you saw recently. Pretty puny but then there haven’t been many women blogging on working at a construction project). For my current job it actually helps me to have real job experience for a major capital construction project because the work pacing very different due to limited restricted timelines. I now work an infrastructure division for govn’t.

    Happy birthday! Hope you have good surprises and may your family stay healthy and happy.

    I passed into 54th yr. 2 months ago.

    1. Hi Jean,

      Thank you. Small is definitely better than none. I remember your construction post and the experience that you gained from working in that environment. While I have had long commutes throughout my career, this job is close to home, so that’s a positive aspect of it.

      54? Look look much younger in the photos that I’ve seen. I would not have guessed that you were my senior, if only by 14 months. You’re definitely in better shape than I am though, with your bike riding. Thanks, we are all happy and healthy, which are two very important things.

    1. Hi Clay,

      It’s wonderful that you let me know that you enjoy reading my posts. Since I don’t post often, I spend a good amount of time writing each one, so it’s good to hear that they are well received.

      Thank you for the nomination. The Liebster Award is a nice idea and I’m delighted to be a recipient.

      My daughter wishes that her break hadn’t come and gone so quickly, now that she’s back to hitting the books while her friends at other schools are enjoying their spring breaks this week.

  7. It’s April 18th, so now you’re 53 and a month. Unfortunately, there are a lot of us in a similar career and financial position. We’re not where we thought we’d be. In fact, we were in a better place ten years ago. I hope things improve soon, Ray — for you, as well as for the rest of us.
    Charles Gulotta recently posted..Thoughts, Words, and DeedsMy Profile

    1. Hi Charles,

      Has it been a month already? Sometimes I think: Don’t blink, or it could all be over. 🙂

      It’s true that many have been going through tough times for much longer than me. In a way, I feel fortunate to have avoided this situation for as long as I have. I’ve tried a few new things lately, with some success, so I’m also feeling a bit liberated and have waded into areas where I would not have ventured before. That’s a good thing, I think.

      Thanks, I’m feeling more upbeat these days while considering each opportunity that I encounter. Who knows where it will lead?

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