I have done quite a few things to earn a buck in my life, and some of them have been a bit bizarre while others have been rather mundane.
I think the shortest job I ever had was about four hours. Right after I got out of the Army a thousand years ago, I got a job at a company in Toledo, Ohio that made conveyor belts. I’m sure things are a lot more automated these days than they were back then, but basically, I stood at what was called a slitter machine, and if we were making 200 foot long conveyor belts, or whatever the number was, I dialed it into a meter and pushed the Start button. When it got to the designated number, a buzzer sounded, and the machine stopped. I pulled a lever to cut the belt, pushed the Start button once more, and did it all over again when the meter hit 200.
It was the most boring four hours of my life. A drunk monkey could have done the job, and I’m sure by now they have replaced the guy who pushed the button and pulled the lever with some kind of automation. Or at least a drunk monkey.
I was wearing one of my Army fatigue shirts, and when another buzzer sounded to say that it was time for lunch, one of my coworkers came over to talk to me. He was a squirrely guy named Joe. I know his name was Joe because he had a label on his shirt that said Joe, a coffee mug that said Joe, and a black lunch pail with Joe stenciled on it in big white letters. Joe said he heard I had just gotten out of the Army, and I told him that was right.
Joe told me that, like me, he had gone to work there 33 years ago, right after he got out of the Army, and he was still there. He proudly told me that he had worked his way up from the slitter machine to forklift driver, and now he spent his days driving it all over the factory. Joe said he liked having that change of scenery all the time. I looked at Joe, and I looked at his name tag and his lunch pail and his coffee mug, and I turned off the slitter machine, walked out to the parking lot, and got in my car and drove away. I never even went back to get paid for my four hours of “labor.”
My longest job, on the other hand, was in the newspaper business. Between publishing small town newspapers on the Pacific Northwest coast and then in Arizona, and after that the Gypsy Journal RV travel newspaper, I spent about 35 years at that gig, and loved every minute of it
But now I have added something new to my resume. Matchmaker. Can you believe that? When we were in Norwalk, Ohio last year, we were having dinner with my cousin Nora Knople and her husband Chris and their daughter Emily. I was teasing Emily about being a young single woman, asking why she wasn’t married yet. Emily had a coworker named Nicholas Judge, who she was kind of interested in, but because they worked together and were friends, she didn’t want to complicate things or mess up that friendship.
I kept urging her to go for it, telling her that being married to your best friend is about the best thing you could ever do, and I was speaking from experience. I may have hinted that Norwalk was a small town, and she probably wasn’t going to do any better than Nick anyway, so she might as well settle. I might have even mentioned that it wasn’t like he would ever cheat on her, because what woman would… never mind.
Anyhow, Emily took my advice, and they did go on a date, and then another date, and yet another date. And yesterday, I got a video call from Emily showing off her brand-new engagement ring. How cool is that?
She told me I should get ordained so I can go up there and perform the wedding ceremony when it happens in, 2022. Can you imagine the circus that would be? I would have to walk out with a shotgun, open with a couple of inappropriate jokes, and then tell Emily that the ring doesn’t go on Nick’s finger, it belongs in his nose. And things would probably go downhill from there. I told them I think that it might be better if I just came and sat in the audience and watched.
Besides, when whoever does officiate, when he or she asks if there is anyone who knows of any reason why these two should not be joined in holy matrimony, I’m going to have a whole list of things to say when I stand up!
Seriously kids (and listen carefully because I am very seldom serious), as I told you when we talked earlier, I wish you a lifetime of love and happiness. I really do.
Congratulations Myrna Jorgensen, winner of our drawing for an audiobook of Birdsongs, the first book in my friend Jason Deas’ excellent Benny James mystery series. We had 34 entries this time around. Stay tuned, a new contest starts soon.
Thought For The Day – All men make mistakes, but married men find out about them sooner.