In 1974, I was in kind of a bind.
I had just graduated high school, and my secure place of
employment for the past six years was no more. It was time to
grow up and make some decisions.
I had been an animal lover ever since I was a kid, so I always
assumed that I would end up being a veterinarian. The problem
with this was, I had never really excelled in school. I was a C
average, and the subject of math...which was never my strong
point...is one of the most important things you had to take to
go into any kind of doctorate field.
I was not able to find anything else interesting to me, and then
there was the subject of how to pay for college even if I wanted
to go. I wasn't going to get any scholarships with a 2.8 grade
point average. It was becoming obvious that I wasn't
In retrospect, I probably would have been happier as some kind
of field naturalist, where I could combine my love of nature and
outdoors with my interest in wildlife and biology. Had I
realized then that my life would have ended up as a series of
low-paying, boring, and insecure jobs, you can bet I would have
done a lot better in school.
It turned out, in my senior year of high school, that the father
of one of my best friends...who had his own car wash
business...needed some extra help on weekends. Since I knew
that my current place of employment was about to end, and my
friend also worked there, I jumped at the chance.
It was not unpleasant work, being at the end of the line and
drying the cars as they came off the line, and on top of the
normal pay we would get tips from the customers. It was
actually quite enjoyable when the weather was nice.
Cars were not very high tech in 1974, so the good thing about
working in the car wash was that we could sample first-hand
the newest cars (and the oldest ones too), and see how well
they hold up.
We got to drive them all...(if only the 50 feet or so from the
end of the tunnel where they come out, and over to the drying
area)...and for that brief drive I could determine if the car
was comfortable or not.
This gig lasted about a year, and since I was now out of high
school, and not going to college, it was time to find full-time
work. I managed to find a job in a little manufacturing plant
not far from my house that fabricated decorative molding for
the walls of motor homes. I was making $3.65 per hour, the
most money I had ever made yet!
It was a steady 40 hour per week job, my first real job.
Now, a majority of the time I worked the night shift, and
often on Saturdays as well. Little did I realize at the time
that this was going to be a trend for me...about half of the
jobs I have had in my life involved working nights, week-ends,
I have worked so many Christmases in my day that it no
longer seems 'odd'. Which is a shame. It takes away the
'specialness' of the day once you get too accustomed to it.
At my present job, I no longer have to do this. It sure feels
good to actually have a day off on Christmas these days!
Peace be with you.