What causes selfishness? The need to put yourself before other people is one of the worst characteristics that anyone can possess. Nobody wants to be selfish, but most everyone is. This story is not easy for me to tell, because it is an account of me at my very worst. However, if I were to produce a VH1: Behind the Music of my life, this would be the beginning of my path into tragedy, then transformation. I’m choosing, at this time, to omit some details from the story, as they’ll be relative in other topics that Sara and I will be swimming in soon enough. I’ll finish the preface with one more note. Remember that we are all capable of terrible things. We all have choices to make on a daily basis that affect others. None of us can say that we’ve never lied, belittled, or hurt someone for selfish gain. We are all capable.
The soundtrack of 2007 was on and I wanted to be a rock star. In fact, I already was. I was being promoted into Sr. Management and enjoying all of the trappings that come with promotion. I was providing well for my family, had just purchased a new car, and was looking forward to the move. I’d hit the “big-time.” Memphis had been professionally lucrative for me. There were times when we struggled, especially after the move from Texas three years prior. We’d lived in an apartment (3rd floor), shared one vehicle, and did the best we could to get by with two small kids (Rudy came later). The company came through on their promises, though. After moving into middle management, we’d been able to rent the house that Sara loved, buy a used minivan and a new car that I wanted (yes, that happened), our third child was born, and things were going well. The executives in the company were singing my praises. I was in charge of a small area of profit centers that were doing exceptionally well under my leadership. Bonuses were flowing. Like I said before, I was awesome.
The proposition was made, at the behest of the company, to relocate from Memphis to Charlotte. This would be a big move for our family, but a big promotion to go along with it. The company had taken care of us before, and I would be stepping up to fill a need that they had in that area. I’d be going from managing four profit centers to managing nine. The only hangup that we had was that Sara had found a church. It was more than a church. It was a group of close friends, a support structure in the absence of nearby family, a comfort to a mother of three very small kids who’s dad was on the road, often. I didn’t care about that. I’d already done the math and figured out the bonus potential. I wouldn’t only be gaining in title. I’d be gaining in wealth, employees, respect, prestige, power, and recognition. My ambition made me awesome. My greed and selfishness made me despicable.
While my mother came from Texas to watch the kids, we hopped a flight to Charlotte, on the company AMEX, to scout out living arrangements. We made our deposit on a very large and cozy rental home in the best neighborhood. Our kids would go to the best schools. My wife would shop at the best stores. We would eat at the best restaurants. We spent the rest of our scouting trip sight-seeing and having fun. We flew back home and started packing. We said goodbye to friends, loaded up our household, and hit the road. Life was good and I was awesome.
To be continued…