This, That and Other stuff

Whoever said work was fun?

Bob Neuman

Whoever said work was fun?

When we were growing up, the thought of having our own money by doing part-time jobs was appealing. My experiences proved it was not always lucrative or much fun. I was quite young, and a neighbor wanted her fish pond cleaned out. I recall a slime-filled afternoon up to my knees and small compensation.

About the sixth grade, I couldn’t wait to deliver the afternoon newspaper. After a quick tour of my route with the boss and my load of Indianapolis Times and our local newspaper, I peddled out to become rich. But being a kid, I had no clue where the streets were or what newspaper anyone took. By 8:00 p.m., I was in the dark and floundering when my father drove up. With his help the next three hours, a few houses received newspapers.

Eventually, I learned. During my three years, a monkey bit my ear. I was stiffed often on collection day and learned not to put a Christmas gift of persimmons into my newspaper bag. A plus was losing unneeded fat due to the flu.

Later I worked for the city street department where I shoveled all things imaginable from manholes, cooked my feet putting hot oil on the streets and subbed for the garbage collectors when they went on strike. I also ran a 100-pound jackhammer and tore up half the town. The best job was truck driving.

Benny and I headed toward the river that ran through the city with our heavy loads of broken concrete. We backed our trucks to the edge of the river, a distance below. I disengaged the tailgate and raised the bed. The concrete rumbled into the water. As Benny began the same maneuver, the front of his truck began to rise. He had neglected to trip the tailgate lock. Down the bank backwards went Benny, concrete and truck. I will never forget the departing look on his face. PS… He survived.

One year at Christmas at college break, I delivered the city mail in freezing weather and snow. If not for a cute, young lady on my route who took pity on me daily with hot tea and sympathy, it would have been the obituaries.

I also was employed at a men’s clothing store. My tasks were to replenish sold items, sell and haul the junk down from the attic for sales. I recall selling two expensive Samsonite suitcases for a dollar each. It was a sale day, and all the cheap items were on a counter, including cardboard suitcases for a dollar each. Two customers arrived and enquired if the two Samsonites near the cardboard ones were also a dollar. I assumed they were, so I sold one each to them. After their hasty exit, enter the manager, who had gone for cloth to wipe off the Samsonites he had already sold. Once he got the drift, he tore through the store and out the door to apprehend the culprits, but the luggage and buyers were history.

Do your early attempts to become successful and prosperous resemble mine?