Until I was 10, I was raised in a cult. My father thought he was the reincarnation of Jesus Christ and he convinced other people of it too. I’m not sure if he was a crackpot or a psychopath, but I lean towards psychopath. He didn’t have multiple wives and he wasn’t into pedophilia like most cult leaders, but he was strange and had some strange ideas. When I was ten, my mother decided she was done with the cult. They lived on a commune without electricity or running water; we raised livestock and had a huge garden, we were home schooled on religious doctrine and regular school subjects. It was muddy, filthy, and hard living. When I was ten there was a thunderstorm and the roof started to leak on our house. It may not seem like a big deal, but it was the final straw for my mom.
She packed up me and my siblings and left. We moved in with my mom’s parents. Taking us from idaho to Florida, talk about a change of scenery. My mom had been in college when she met my father who was thirty years older than her and one of her professors. Once in Florida, we lived with our grandparents for a few years while mom went back to college and finished her degree in childhood development. She eventually became a social worker and then went on to get a master’s degree in psychology where she specialized in cult deprogramming. My mom allowed us to talk to our father, via letters, but he wasn’t to know where we lived, so our grandfather who was a Postmaster for the United States Postal Service posted all our letters. I began going to public school and I found I was good at athletics, especially football. My sister is a brainiac though and is now a pediatrician. My brother works for the United States Postal Service. I was the oldest, but damage was done to all of us. We were mistrustful of other kids after we left and it took us ages to make friends. My sister who was six when we left had to be told not to introduce herself as having been raised in a cult. It took a lot of therapy to get us adjusted to life outside the cult. And it was the first time, we had choices, it was very unusual and strange and weird and completely new to us the first time we were asked what we wanted for dinner or what we wanted to be when we grew up. I had been raised to assume the role of leader up to that point, I didn’t know there were other things I could do with my life. I’d been taught not to trust anyone outside our community, they were all wicked and would perish in the flames of the apocalypse.
In the letters I still have from my father, one can trace his descent from slightly weird to madness. He committed suicide while I was in college. I would get a full scholarship to Alabama. I got a generalized bachelor’s of the arts and was drafted into the NFL after college by the San Francisco 49ers as a linebacker. I went in the third round, not bad for a guy playing defense. My first contract was three years. At the end of three years, I had 82 interceptions, 55 1/2 sacks, and yet my contract wasn’t renewed because of politics. I’d go to the St. Louis Rams the following year and play just one year with them finishing the season with nineteen interceptions and eleven sacks. I was injured that year and released in the off season. The Kansas City Chiefs would pick me up for two seasons after that. The second season, I was injured again and had to have both my ankle and knee repaired two weeks before the end of the season. Could I have come back from that? Probably. Instead, I met a man that would change my life. I was on crutches, just weeks after surgery and decided to go out with some team mates for dinner. I bumped into two men and two women at a restaurant and by bumped into them, I mean my crutch slipped and one of the men caught me. He kept me from falling into the table and probably hurting myself even worse. The ladies’ knew me and my teammates.
The guy offered to buy me us some drinks. It’s always a little weird hanging out with fans, but the guys didn’t seem to know who I was and the ladies didn’t seem to care, despite knowing some of my stats. We sat with them in the lounge for several hours. At the end of the night, the guy who’d caught me gave me his business card. With the booze out of my system in the morning, I looked closer at that card. It was a security company, did the guy want to install a security system at my house or something? I was making good money, but not millions like the offensive stars or even the defensive superstars. The other starting linebacker on the team was making a whole lot more money. I lived in a nice house, but it wasn’t a mansion and I didn’t have a lot of stuff that needed protecting. I flipped the card over and it said “If you don’t think football is your destiny, call me.” I stuck the card on my fridge and forgot about it as I started rehab for my shattered knee and ankle.
I struggled with rehab. I wasn’t making progress like I thought I should be. I had another year on my three year contract and I was doing everything I was supposed to, but the knee clicked when I moved it, I didn’t have feeling in all my toes, and I had stabbing, shooting pains that ran the length of my calf without prompting. I got healthy enough for camp though. My teammates were great. They held my hand and pushed me to get back to where I was.
And then just three weeks before the start of my third season, I ran into two of those people again. The woman showed up at my next door neighbor’s house after a brutal knock down drag out fright between the man and woman that lived there. The female neighbor had run to my house a few times. The husband was an abusive jerk. The wife stopped by to tell me bye and let me know she was going away and to expect her husband to freak out when he realized it. She was with the two women I’d met at the bar and one of the men. The following day, I called the number. I wanted answers, why were people that installed security systems helping a woman run away?
That was the day I learned Daniels’ Security did a whole lot more than install security systems. I would arrive at their offices that afternoon, after therapy and an hour of practice, and find my male neighbor in their waiting room throwing chairs demanding to know where his wife was and didn’t they know who he was. The receptionist stun gunned him and then lead me to the inner offices to meet with Nadine Daniels and Antony E. There Nadine informed me she knew who that guy was, he was a wife beater and everything else was irrelevant. She also told me to turn my butt around, walk out of her office and walk back to my nice life and that was all I needed to know. But I didn’t want to go back to my life and forget everything. I felt Nadine, Antony, and Zeke were making a real difference in lives. They were helping people and maybe if they needed donations, I could make a donation. I returned the next day with my checkbook and offered them a quarter of my year’s salary. It wasn’t huge, but it was still a good donation. Nadine told me I didn’t understand and working for her would be the most grueling thing I’d ever done.
I was a linebacker in the NFL. I understood grueling in ways most people didn’t. They couldn’t possibly be doing anything that I couldn’t do. Antony called me a week later. He and Zeke wanted to meet for dinner and drinks, on them to apologize for their boss’s abruptness. They really did help the woman next door to me escape an abusive husband, but the rest of it was pagentry meant to lure me in, I’ve seen them do it a half dozen times since then. Nadine gets impressions of people quickly and if they will work with her organization, she will go through a huge dog and pony show to get them. She had figured me out in that one night and realized the best way to get me, was to tell me I couldn’t hack it. It worked. Daniels’ Security arranged my last year of my contract and I spent a year in even more intensive rehab and training. I learned three martial arts and learned how to be a bodyguard as well as learning to understand how and when threats would come towards our clients. Somehow, she had sensed that night that I wanted to help people and that I would be good at this job and she did what she needed to do to convince me of it.
Fifteen years later, Antony and Nadine were correct, the NFL wasn’t my destiny, Daniels’ Security was. It is a much more rewarding job. I do get to help people every day and much to my surprise, I do occasionally install security systems, but not the kind that ADT and the like installs.