(meus meus meus)

This...should explain my job history...

My name is Eric Messick and I am a Web Developer (casses factorem). I was born in the year of the monkey, 1980, to pizzeria owners. Over the span of 5 years, I acquired four brothers and sisters.

Being restauranteurs where my parents raised there family was difficult, due to the economic oppression of the the area and times (the late 80's Recession). Their solution was simple and elegant. Run the pizzerias like you would a farm: put the children to work. We had already spent a lot of time in the stores. The main store's office was more like a pack and play, covered in He-Man toys and a small TV for cartoons. Fun fact: I took my first bath, outside a hospital, in a dish wash sink in the back of a restaurant. I accidentally fired my first employee when I was 5, thanks to my big mouth and my being present during a private meeting between my parents and management. My father, backed my decision

When I was nine, the stores became computerized and my first job was to input several months of past orders which would later serve as the database for inventory and portion control. Later, when I was about 10 or 11, and my younger siblings were old enough, we all became "couponers". My mother would pick us up from school, we would ride to neighborhoods, and door-hang coupons on the houses. Constant advertising kept the phones ringing at my parent's business. When that wasn't enough, I dressed as the company mascot outside the factory egresses while another of my father's employers handed coupons to workers through their car windows. I was in parades too. When I was fourteen, I began working part-time as a "phone-girl" (the term at the time) and worked every weekend until I left for college.

This practice of young labor, these days, is frowned upon by the modern, but in hind site, I have few regrets. Sure, My parents may have been just doing what it took to survive. But, perhaps unintentionally, they taught me the importance of family, and by extension, what it takes to survive and flourish. Those pizzerias survived for 26 years of obstacles and paved the way for my family's future.

My childhood was not all work and no play. From the ages 9 to 16, I was a competition jazz and tap dancer. No kidding. There are pictures of me in costume that no employer, nor even friends, with EVER see. When I was 11, I was in a bicycle gang, "The Venom Riders" who's initiation ceremony involved chewing up live fireflies. I was a prolific artist, animator, writer, and the design editor for the school literary magazine. And when I wasn't at work, dancing, or in school I was deeply, deeply engaged in the art of "being up to no good." I can't tell you how many times I got grounded for tearing up "school clothes."

After high school I was accepted into the Savannah College of Art and Design on a partial scholarship, based on a couple of 2D animations I had produced my senior year. The school was expensive, so I made a deal with my parents. They would pay the remaining tuition, but I would be responsible for my room and board. At 17, (that's right. I couldn't even buy cigarettes) I landed in Savannah, and immediately secured a job at a local pizzeria. I worked every weekend while persueing a degree in 3D computer animation.

About two and a half years into my degree, I came into a realization. I was interested in animation because I wanted to tell stories. After sitting behind a computer, day in and day out, one thing became increasing apparent: I didn't have any stories to tell, at least, no adult ones. I finished my degree, and walked away from animation.

For the next year, I worked for a company that ran nightclubs and strip-clubs, after they bought the bar I worked for. I quickly raised through the ranks, due mostly to my business knowledge aquired during my early years (It wasn't pizza, but math is math). Obviously, such an enterprise certainly provided me with the "stories" I felt I had been lacking. (Are you thinking about what some of those stories might be? That didn't happen. The stories I have...you would NOT believe)

A little after a year into my journey, I moved back to my home town to take over my parents' business. My father had always wanted to be a doctor, but fell into the pizza business thanks to his quickly growing family (did I mention my parents had 5 kids and opened 4 stores in 5 years? Crazy asses.) He was attempting to return to school for the third time at the age of 45, and once again his managers had become complacent in his absence. My mother and I agreed that his dropping out was not an option, so I returned.

My father graduated with a nursing degree. My mother and I worked together to fix the business, me in the store, her in the office. We raised that sales by 27% and sold the business. They were finally able to buy a house with a small piece of land. I couldn't find anything interesting to bold in this paragraph, so I added this sentence. I stayed on with the new owners, taught them about the business strategies of the area, took charge of their loss prevention and databases, and eventually moved to run their university location.

After two years, with the new company, I abruptly left. My younger brother had been diagnosed with an aggressive form of brain cancer. I moved in with him in Richmond to help with his care. I started a Wordpress site, blogging about cancer fighting tips and tricks and collecting donations for his healthcare.

At first, I got a job with a pizzeria again, of coarse. However, neither the hours, nor the money, was good enough for the situation at hand. For a few years, I had been interested in investigative work. This interest had come about from my security work at the nightclubs, catching thieving bartenders and working with police at the pizzerias (locating check fraudsters). Also, by this time in my life, I had successfully located both my mother and my adopted sister's biological fathers, using just my Google-Fu. I got my license, a loose fitting tie, and hit the bricks.

My first field mission was with the Topsy Krets company. I successfully infiltrated the Sygourney Weaver funeral. (Names changed for confidentiallity) While working for Detective McJaded-Divorced-Alcholic-but-He-Fights-for-Whats-Right And yes, I really did attend a funeral at the request of a client. It was very Jerry Springer-esque. However the recording obtained were compromised by bagpipes.

I began a neck tie collection, one for every cheater I caught. In four years, I collected 98. 8 of them are so hideous, they've never been worn. Outside of my "Dress-up Time."

The adventures were endless. I had a physical altercation with a horse, named I didn't catch his name... I stole all the contents of a subject's trash can in the middle of the day. (Solved that case with a receipt). I became the go-to guy for deploying and retrieving GPS tracking devices. I don't mean to brag, but over 100 deployments / retrievals. And yes, it was legal Once while a man was at home in broad daylight See: "The lost dog play.". Located 12 stolen dump trucks and paving equipment. I worked with several ex-military and learned to make my own ghillie suits, purchase nothing but thrift store clothing, because they're easy disposable. I only owned one wig though, however I changed my facial hair routinely. Hospitalized twice for heat exhaustion once for 10 hour surveillance in "The Creep Van" in late August and once after "The Woods Job". I never disobey "Posted No Trespassing" signs...though I doubt that will come up in your company. Nor will urinating to discourage dogs and wildlife. We also used this to haze new investigators. Have you ever tried to pee in freezing weather with several inches of clothing on? Craigslist Cat-fishing. Provided security for "16 and Pregnant".

To summarize, I got paid to do what I was doing at 15, pro-bono.

Two years ago, I moved to Austin for a woman and her daughter. Depending on who you are, and where your life experience has led you, that is either the best or worst reason to move. I got my investigative license here, but my adveturous lifestyle and family life were...incompatible. It was just as well. To be honest, something had changed. For the first time in a long time, I would rather be home with my family them then running around. I was done, mostly with those stories and was ready to make different ones. (I still have my license when something really fun comes along to get the "Moonlight Itch").

I started making art again. And then, I remember the joy of being behind a computer and making it do things. A good friend of mine suggested that I take a look at Web Development, since I, and I'm quoting here, "have the aptitude for it. Especially Javascript." I took a few courses on Codecademy and fell in love. I enrolled in the first Front End Web Development course at General Assembly that I could. I excelled and, now, here I am.

That's my story...so far.

Oh, and I can't help but notice...you never clicked the skull.