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“In the army I was exposed to people I would not otherwise have known. I learned something about life.” John Gregory Dunne, The Art of Screenwriting №2

For me it was taxi, a quasi military organization run by ex-military types. They were generally abusive, corrupt, gaslighters finding fault with everything but especially hippies like me and my long haired liberal notions. I was using it as a transitional needs job from counselling addicts to my interests in art so I put up with not making much money most of it going to the ex-military dispatchers and their driver friends. But, I learned to drive and self discipline in a gig economy.

Tiring of their abuse, it was at Yellow Cabs, I found a small quirky cab company, ABC taxi, a place for the rejects of Yellow. The employees were tough, talented, intelligent, loyal and honest. “It was a constituency of the dispossessed — high-school dropouts, petty criminals, rednecks, racists, gamblers, you name it — and I fit right in.” — John Gregory Dunne

One of these criminals was Donny Cline. He taught me to dispatch, where I found a back up career for my music and art studies until I was 40 and thoroughly burned out on the stress of the job, 400 cars and a computer to manage a data base of addresses, and a roomful of rookies to supervise in a call center, it was untenable.

So I got student loans and went to art school for 6 years then taught at University's on contracts for 10 more, having shows and curating the locals along the way.

As my narcissist wife was having some success isolating me from my art community to focus on her health concerns and demanded a more steady income, I abandoned my art career to drive school bus charters and train drivers. In that 2 years I quit smoking, gained 50 pounds and became single. I tired of buses and the ex-military that drive them and returned to dispatching at my old company but this time it was limos as it was thought that since I had a degree I was now better suited to the upper middle class customer base.

I transitioned to advertising art making evil email spam on my computer, learning the software that is the basis of my current fine art practice until the advertising company killed its relationship with it’s main client as they all do eventually. Now it is AI making spam or folks in India as a cheaper alternative.

So I took a courier driving job, and for 8 years I worked hard, and making art for the internet markets until I suffered a stroke and spent a year in therapy, in patient and out patient living with roommates until I was accepted to subsidized housing, now living independently and pronounced healthy by the doctors.

Making art, living on a pension, it’s living the dream.

Jerald Blackstock

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