I’m having less and less to say. With age comes sweet calmness and confidence. I’ve made my mark, the mark has been to only live to an older age each year, to get to a point where it is unnecessary to prove my worth.
From the time that I first retrieved an out of reach hammer for my father to save him a few steps, I was made aware of my worth. He said “Thank you Partner !”. Although I was four years old, I realized I was worthy to be on his job site. I was not just a kid stumbling over the two by fours, open trenches and avoiding backing cement trucks. I was now contributing to the effort. I was now the official tool, nail and board getter for the boss. His Go-fer! My first job! After work that afternoon, at a tavern that I can still recall the smell and the song playing on the juke-box, I received a Coke, a bag of peanuts and a thank you for my labor that day. Yes, I have literally worked for peanuts and I have worked for “Peanuts” pretty much every day since. Don’t we all? Like Pavlov’s dog, my mouth still waters at the sound of Patsy Cline, the smell of stale smoke and big bust bar maids. Basically, I’m still working for very similar rewards.
Oh, the peanuts do come in a much bigger bag now. I soon learned that my labor was worth more than just the memory of a smell, cold drink and a pretty song. But unfortunately the alarm clock each morning means time for work and at the sound of it my mouth stays a little dryer now. Most of my years since in order to get those rewards have involved government certifications, exams and yearly performance reviews. Just being there with the right tool at the right time hasn’t always been enough. Every year we are evaluated to prove our worth.
For more years than I care to count, I have worked. Perhaps since I was four years old, certainly since I was fourteen when I received my social security card and filled out my first 1040 tax form. There is now little reason for more certifications and I know the system well enough that a yearly performance review entails little more than copying last year’s, a phone call from the boss and if we are in the same city at the right time, a conversation over a nice meal. My days of having to prove my worth are coming to an end. Just performing my jobs well now will suffice.
I think I have finally reached my mark. It won’t be long that the Pavlov’s bell on the alarm clock will be put on snooze much more often. And the sound of it will really mean breakfast, the breakfasts that I have missed so many times in the past because my saliva was not anxious for bacon and eggs but for proving my worth at work. I’m almost there. But soon I will be getting back to gauging my worth by the chill of the Coke, the sound of the music and the pleasure of talking to beautiful big bust barmaids.
Such is the life of John.