Saturday, May 28, 2016

Bonus Post: Book Progress Update and a Solicitation of Reader Opinion

Portrait of the author as a young man

Hello dear readers;

I am currently stalled in my work on the book because I am waiting to print all the chapters into a spiral-bound, double-spaced manuscript to facilitate the proof-reading and note-making process.
In the meanwhile, I have recalled three other things which could be considered jobs, in that I received money for my labor, no matter how middling that was.  I need your opinion as to whether I should: 1) add them to the job count, raising the total to 88; or 2) include them somewhere in the book, but explain why they’re not part of the count; or 3) forget about them all together.

The memory of these jobs came to me in reverse chronological order. The most recent one was about the time that I had my first bus driving job. It was probably shortly after I had quit that job, and was floundering about for a way to pay the rent on my groovy studio apartment. One of my neighbors worked for an above-ground pool and spa merchant. One day he asked me if I would help him set up a working pool on the display floor of his employer’s store. The work only took a few hours, and he probably paid me a flat fee, like 25 dollars (and probably a few beers while we waited for the pool to fill), for my time.

When I remembered this “job”, I asked Mrs. Rimpington if she thought I should include it as one of my 80+ positions. She thought I shouldn’t, and then she asked, “You didn’t include the time you got paid to baby-sit my cousins, did you?” I paused a moment before responding in the negative. She said that in that case I shouldn’t include this pool thing, either, because they were both just minor things I did mostly as a favor for someone and for which I also received compensation.

 However, the reason I paused before answering was because I had forgotten all about the time I watched her two young cousins while their parents were out for evening. I was about 16 or 17 at the time, and they were about seven and nine. I was pondering whether I shouldn’t actually include that gig as well as the time I helped my neighbor.

The baby-sitting thing got me to thinking if there had been any other instances in my life of the kinds of things that children and teenagers typically do for money which I could add to my job list. 85 is a lot of jobs, so I don’t really need any more positions to inflate my numbers, but I do want this to be as accurate a history as possible.

I think I may have once opened a Kool-Aid stand (I didn’t know how to make lemonade) on the sidewalk in front of my house, but I wouldn’t include that as a “job”. However, I did recall that one autumn in my childhood, a chum and I offered our services raking leaves in the neighborhood. We went door-to-door and actually got a few customers. When it came to pay us, one lady asked, “Who’s in charge here?” Without hesitation, we each pointed at the other and said, “He is!” Then we looked at each other funny, and all we and the lady started laughing. I don’t remember whose idea it was – it just seemed to have spontaneously generated between two bored boys without allowances who thought it would be swell to have some money of their own.

So there you have it: three minor tasks performed for cash money – leaf-raking, pool-setting up and baby-sitting. Do they count as jobs, are they noteworthy anecdotes, or should they be consigned to the dustbin of personal history? I value your thoughts.

By the way, even in the mid-1960s, no one was saying things like “chum” and “swell” anymore. It’s just that when I recall my early childhood, I tend to go all ‘Leave it to Beaver’-y.

No comments:

Post a Comment