When I was a kid, my dad was a logger. I think he hated his job. He worked for a contracting company that treated their workers like dirt. He always swore that none of his kids would have to work as hard as he did. My dad didn’t have much education. Back in the day, if a kid was fortunate enough to learn to read and maybe add, that was practically their education. They went to work soon after.
My dad did everything he could to keep me out of the logging industry. He wanted me to have a cushy job indoors. I guess that is why I went directly from high school (at the ripe old age of 16) and into a Clerk Accounting course at the local community college. I hated it and flunked out badly. I was always an English geek, and hated numbers. Still do!
After flunking out of accounting school, I picked up a few jobs. The first (and worst) was for a bible totting God fanatic and his weird family. The Butts ran a furniture store in the area, and since they couldn’t keep workers very long, there was always work available for young people. I still remember the job interview; it was given by the mother of the store owner. She used to walk up and down the hallways of the store singing hymns. She came in and took one look and obviously didn’t like what she saw.
She started quoting bible verses and acting like she was performing an exorcism on me. I would have worried, but I knew she wasn’t Catholic (I was/still am) so she wasn’t qualified to perform an exorcism, but that is another story for another time. I wondered what freaked her out, only to discover that it was my appearance.
At seventeen, I proudly sported my first mustache. The thing took me almost the entire seventeen years of my existence to grow, and even though it may have looked like a patchwork quilt, I was quite proud of the thing. My dad used to say that it looked like I got too close to a candle, and soot gathered on my lip, but I was still proud of my manly ‘stache.
“The mark of Satan!” she hollered. I looked around, terrified. “Where? What are you talking about? You are scaring the hell out of me!” I replied.
“That thing on your lip, God Bless you my son, but you should know that facial hair on a man is a sign of the devil himself!” she said. It was obvious that she didn’t get out much, either that or this was her first time out…out of the insane asylum!
She made me shave it off before she would give me the job. I didn’t want to, but I had my first car, and I needed gas to run the thing.
That job didn’t last long. They were looking for a co-pilot on their delivery vehicle. At least that is what their full time driver said. He was the dirtiest person I ever met. He had the same smudge of dirt on his neck for four weeks. The younger workers in the shop had a bet going to see when he would finally wash the thing off. I won the bet. I bet that his neck would come clean the first time we got a hard rain.
Bert was a complete nutcase. He used to drive that poor old Chevy two ton like it was a Nascar racing car. He would make all the deliveries early in the morning and we would spend the rest of the day searching for car parts for an old Dodge Charger that he was fixing up. One day we arrived back at the shop with the entire front end of an ‘R/T that he had found in an old barn. When we pulled into the shop, the owner’s mother was waiting. She fired him and promoted me to chief driver. She never asked if I knew how to drive a stick shift. I didn’t. Two days later when I killed the clutch, she fired me too. That was the only job I was ever fired from. Right after I was fired, I began working on my mustache again.
There were other jobs, some good, some horrible, but in the end, I wound up working side by side with my dad, in the logging industry. We worked for my uncle, who ran a contracting company. We worked together for over twenty years, and to this day, dad still says that those were the most enjoyable days he can remember.
I recently took a job at a service station/convenience store. The work is steady but enjoyable. I can easily outwork the younger kids because I am not glued to a cell phone and I don’t know how (and don’t want to learn how) to text.