11.28.2007

Confession: I used to be a sweater

That's right, a sweater.












Not that kind of sweater though, this kind.














Let me 'splain....

In the first part of my career I was employed in the entertainment industry as a Recording Engineer. It was my job to set up equipment for recording sessions, make sure everything worked right, and make sure the right kind of sounds actually get recorded to tape.

As an engineer, you work for either the studio, or you're freelance, hired by the artist or producer. Either way, you aren't the one paying the bills for studio time. (which can be SERIOUS money per hour) Particularly stressful is having a studio full of 60 symphony players, and having some sort of malfunction in the equipment, not getting the right sounds recorded to tape. Musicians who are paid $45 per hour, regardless of what they are doing can make a bill paying producer a bit cranky if they aren't playing to tape.

During these times, I was a PROFOUND sweater. My shirts always looked like i had just come from the gym, and didn't smell much better either.

I worked in this field for a long time, doing studio work, as well as location work. I believe I once wrote about my little adventure with Sandra Bullock in this area.

Check it out

Anyway, you could virtually wring my shirts out by the end of a long day. I know, sexy to the maximus. This was a complete stress response, just the way my body reacted....

I decided to leave that part of my life behind and was offered a position at a theater, doing Sound Design. Theatrical sound design is a lot the same as studio recording, except for one important difference: in theater, you have 1000 paying butts in the seats, and you have one chance only to get it right - if you don't get a microphone open in time, or you forget a sound effect, forget to bring the music in, etc., you don't get to go back and have a do-over.

Theater sound design was a natural fit for me, I had steady work, and as a well trained recording engineer, I was better at it than the hacks that normally work around here providing sparse and inadequate reinforcement. I was a member of the national association of theater technical disciplines, and lectured once at one of their national conference in, of all places, Kansas City.

Anyway, this "one chance only" paradigm didn't help my stress level, and therefore, my sweating was as profound as ever, if not moreso. I was running up to 40 individual channels of audio, often with a live band or orchestra, sound effects, and perhaps up to 16 tracks of other recorded audio. Getting it right every night was a monumental task, and when it came together, it was stunningly tantalizing. But not without a cost, to my shirts.

It was bad enough that I would only buy light-colored shirts, to minimize the impact, but no matter what I did - I was a sweater.

After about 6 years, I grew tired of working every night til 10:30, so I began looking for something else to do. During my years in the recording studio, followed by the theater, I had a vast knowledge of the equipment used in the process. At the same time, one of those brands was purchased by a large public company, who promptly moved the entire operation to Utah, and one Sunday I was looking through the paper, and saw their logo advertising a technical writer position for hire, and I was there on Monday morning, several years' experience under my belt. I was hired shortly thereafter.

Writing, like music, is a rather subjective endeavor. That is, people either like your work or they don't. It isn't a matter of whether it is "right" or not (but sometimes it may be, especially in Technical Writing), it's about whether your audience LIKES it.

For me, this was stressful, a moving target of whether I was doing my job right or not.... it all came down to how my boss was feeling that morning. And a whole list of other factors.

Therefore, no solution to the "stress=sweat" factor.

From there, I was moved over to marketing and web design. This was during the middle to late 90's , what some refer to as "web 1.0". The days when you were coding pages by hand in HTML. Yeah, I'm that old. From there, my career path led me to publishing, art direction, marketing.

Anyway, as you can imagine, there was STILL this factor of subjective job approval in what I was doing. Therefore I was still DESTROYING my shirts in about 4-5 months of normal wear.

Then 9|11 happened, and the dot-com burst, and short-term-but-deep recession. Along with that came a period of unemployment, for both ThatOneWife and myself - at the same time. Stress? Ummm, yeah.

I decided to take a run at self-employment at that point, and luckily, I chose to do it in the field of ones and zeros, balance or not balance, right or wrong. However, this didn't cure my problem entirely. Being self employed has its benefits, but it is also a royal bitch sometimes. Okay, a lot of the time. You have to be able to find people you can trust, and in whom you can PLACE trust. That is easier said than done, and I have learned hard lessons along the way. If I had only known then what I know now, how different things would be...

Anyway, to solve my sweating problem entirely, I found a product called MAXIM. Not the magazine - that does other things. Like make your palms hairy...

Maxim is a product that comes out of Canada, I believe. It's chemical strength is only available via expensive prescription here in the states. I found it online. After some reading, I decided I had a condition called hyperhydrosis, or simply-put, over active sweat glands. Some people have it on their face, back, hands, etc. Luckily, this was not me, but it was nevertheless very embarrassing for me, and expensive on the clothes budget, and limiting in what I could wear.

So, I got some. The treatment is supposed to go for five applications. It basically shocks the sweat glands back into line of normal operation. Frankly, it's a low-level chemical burn, BUT I'll be damned if it didn't work. No amount of stress could overpower it's chemicals.

I used most of the first bottle through about four or five applications, each one's effects lasting longer than the last, until finally, I was able to manage the situation with occasional applications and felt really great about this great breakthrough for me.

As a side benefit, the stuff actually helped reduce my stress as well. Previously, as the sweat stains came, my stress level would go through the roof, which would exacerbate the entire situation.

Now I can buy whatever color shirt I want, out of whatever fabric I want, and I don't worry. and I don't have to replace everything I wear after only a few months. I haven't had to use the stuff for some time now, as my glands are pretty much operating under normal conditions. But I undoubtedly have a reserve stash in case those damn sweat glands get out of line again.

So there you have it. I have no idea what would possess me to write this post and put it out there in the public domain, but hey, maybe I can help another serial sweater out there. Or someone you know.

Just send an anonymous link.

1 comment:

for what it's worth said...

Drysol works incredibly well too. It is available otc here. Let me know if you want me to send you some.