Unequivocally Ambiguous

Humorous Stories on Parenting, Culture and Life

Squeezing the Green Out of the Rainbow 

by | Mar 12, 2024 | Life | 0 comments

My very first business venture (37/40)

My first business venture was a team effort between all the boys in my neighborhood when I was ten.

We lived in a community complex at the edge of a bad neighborhood that would turn around in the following years.

But when I lived there, it wasn’t all that great.

We landed there after my mom, my sister, and I sneaked out of the apartment where my parents used to live together. It was the only thing available on such short notice — which is an understatement when all you have is two days to find an apartment, sign on it, and move in.

This enclosed complex had three towers in a courtyard facing the parking lot and the common walkway connecting all towers.

It was one of the few buildings I remember seeing in Barranquilla with an attached bodega and pharmacy.

The venture started by pooling all our money, then going to this bodega and filling a ten-liter plastic bag with all the candy and snacks we liked. Then we would go door to door to all of the neighbors in the building who could’ve just as easily gone to the store and gotten what they wanted.

Our business proposition was clear, even if ill-informed. We would interrupt them in the middle of the day from what they were doing, offer them candy they had not planned to buy and that they might not even like, and charge a small surcharge for our inconvenience.

I don’t like the term visionary, but I struggle to find a better one.

We knocked on six houses; we found three people home; nobody wanted anything. On our way down from one of the towers, we stopped at the concrete bench before the next one and decided to dissolve our “handshake” conglomerate. We each got a portion of the remaining and devalued assets and proceeded to eat all the candy right there.
The venture lasted an hour.

Hey, I never said it was a successful venture.

When I was twelve, my mom moved out of this apartment, and as luck would have it, the family of a new classmate, who had just moved from Cartagena, rented it.

Jaime became my childhood best friend.

We bonded over two things.

First, loving to be on the go all the time.

Actually, Jaime did.

I loved staying home, reading, and moaning stupid comments like, “I wish there was a job where you could only read.”

Jaime didn’t.

So he would walk the three blocks to my apartment and get me out of the house to go walk somewhere else. Jaime and I would walk everywhere. If we weren’t waking, we were biking or roller skating.

Once, we roller-skated to the beach, not a road designed for that, and it took us about four hours to do that. We braved maniacal buses doing 100 mph and racing other competing buses.

We spent two hours at the beach, then returned home, and it took us about five hours to return. My chaffing was so bad that for the next two days, I walked like I was holding a bowling ball too heavy to throw any other way than to underhand it.

We walked for miles at a time and always landed in someone’s house.
We particularly liked walking to girls who we knew had pools.

I’m not going to lie; some girls were not that fun, but we still appreciated the pools because Colombia is as muggy as making a face mask out of piping-hot steel-cut oatmeal.

So we had pool goggles, which you might think are just goggles, but we’re different because we were not nice yet, and we would’ve put up with anyone as long as they had a pool.

The other thing that bound Jaime and me is that we thought it was funny to eat insane amounts of food.

We would walk to the nearby grocery store, buy loads of Oreo cookies and Dorito bags, head back to Jaime’s apartment, and just eat them all at once.

I think of how I used to eat when I was this age, and just thinking about it makes my brain worry about the upcoming summer. I feel the itching under my waistline pushing against my belt.

I ate so much garbage. Nobody was paying attention to what we were eating back then.

It feels hypocritical not to give that freedom to my daughter.

I think I notice the difference when she eats sugar. My wife says she doesn’t, which led her to shut down a family motto I was petitioning to introduce, “Sugar is poison!!!”

Justine said she didn’t want our daughters fearing any food which is very French of her. It makes sense because even though her dad’s family is all Italian, her ancestry app says she is actually French.

So, I have moved towards a more balanced approach, but I still struggle with some choices available to kids.

A new sleight of hand I have developed when I go to kids’ parties is to distract my daughter with a plate of strawberries, then rapidly glance into the gift bag and quickly swipe out any crazy amounts of sugar like those sucking rings. That thing is a giant, precious metal-like stone made of sugar, colorants, and meltdowns.

If, for some reason, I’m unsuccessful in my attempt and Jovie spots me, I always have frozen smoothie cups at home that I have misleadingly labeled “ice cream.” I offer one to my daughter so she can put off the insulin spike until the following day.

She tends to forget the next day because I have also hidden it, and when she finally asks me again two weeks later, I unceremoniously tell her that it went bad.

She doesn’t know like you, and I know that cockroaches and Skittles are all that would be left in the world after World War III.

I know it is only a matter of time before she wisens to all my misdirection.

Hopefully, by then, she will develop Daddy’s walking obsession.



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