My name is Mike Stanley, I’m 30 years old, this is my blog.
I was born in Atlanta, Georgia, but didn’t end up staying there for very long. My dad died when I was two years old, and shortly after that we made the trip to Gainesville. He was missing for two weeks before the Atlanta Police Department located his body. I can’t imagine the pain my mother went through, having two kids, my sister not even a year old yet, and having a missing husband. He got in a car wreck on the way home from work one night, and they found him in a ravine a good thirty or forty feet below the road. I’ve only visited the actual site once, and though a bit chilling, it didn’t seem any different than any other spot on that road, except for the railroad crossing just before a slight turn right where he went off. I imagine he was going too fast, hit the railroad crossing and just lost control. But, he was also into computers back in the eighties, and I’ve always entertained the idea that he was “taken out” by somebody in the government because he knew more than he should’ve at the time. But, that’s another story for many more pages.
A few facts about me:
1) I’ve been a cook for twelve years now, and hating it for a solid ten.
2) This is my third (or fourth) time at Santa Fe.
3) My memory is extremely awful. (planners or fail)
4) I’ve had six concussions. (memory?)
5) I’ve had five near death experiences.
6) I’m happy to be alive.
7) Alcohol is a problem. (semi was)
8) I play disc golf in almost all of my free time.
9) I’ve skateboarded for fifteen years of my life.
10) I have no idea how I managed to stay alive to see thirty years pass.
11) Favorite books: The Stand, by Stephen King. http://www.stephenking.com and This Book is Full of Spiders, by David Wong. http://www.johndiesattheend.com
So, now that you have the facts let me expand a bit.
I became a cook fresh out of high school (12 years ago now). I was attending Santa Fe on a scholarship at the time, and doing nothing but drinking, skateboarding, and sometimes making it to class. I had no idea what I wanted to be in life. Looking back on it I find that funny, because ever since I was a little kid, I’ve always written. When my mom used to ground me in elementary school I would fill up pages and pages with all the words I could think of, the good, the bad, and the misspelled. But as I was making my way through high school and we were taking all kinds of career tests, I never once considered writing. At the time I probably had three or four journals full of poetry. I’m talking pages cried on, rage spilled, hatred filled poetry of first loves, first fights, good times, bad times, and random made up shit. But still, writing never occurred to me as a viable career option. I probably think about this way more than I should, I just can’t wrap my head around how I never even gave it the slightest consideration. Nevertheless, I made my way to Santa Fe, for the first time.
Santa Fe felt much like high school, and much like in high school, I still had no idea what I wanted to do with myself. I had to pick something, and since I was overlooking things that I loved doing, I just went with engineering based off the simple fact that I was always good at math. So, at this point, I’m loaded up with math and science classes, loaded up with homework, and doing nothing but cooking after school, and getting loaded after work. I got about halfway to my AA before dropping out. I had a problem blacking out, and instead of learning my lessons, I just kept blacking out, that’s how I accrued all the concussions and near death experiences. Only one concussion was from skateboarding (sober).
The same thing happened the second and third time I tried to get my shit together at the Fe, and I failed all the same. I failed to realize what I actually wanted to be three times in a row. But this fourth time, I cannot fail. To fail is to die in the kitchen, and I will do no such thing. I stopped drinking to the point of blackout about two years ago, and since I’ve just been making money, saving money, and rethinking what I want to do with my life. Since I screwed up so badly at Santa Fe, I’m having to pay for everything on my own until I can get my success rate back above the sixty-seven percent passing rate. It took a while to save for it, but now it’s happening. So, fourth times a charm?