Summer Jobs

Stories / By Age / College /

I need to concentrate some points already made into a clear context. College is palmed on us on the one hand as career training, on another hand as education, as philosophy: love of knowledge, joy at skill. College was a major place where I learned to be perpetually unemployed, an utterly new condition for me. I’d always worked: I’d always made money: way more than I ever wanted or needed to spend: until I was spending it on college, then more college, then more university, no income ever covering it. When I was a kid cash accumulated in my bedroom drawer. In college, cash disappeared, debt accumulated. Work that gave me pleasure disappeared; work that gave me a pain in the ass accumulated.

Anyway: quick summary: 1956, I graduate high school. I give up my years old job at the supermarket: where I’ve been loved and respected since age sixteen. I slide into a political job with the Parks and Recreation Department of Rockville Centre. In the supermarket I worked with people who worked, and drank, and married, and had children, and had affairs at work … The Parks Dept was utterly different. There was a commissioner, a political job, there were a couple of year round morons: and a gaggle of wise-ass college kids. That is, some were entering their sophomore year at college, some, like me, were about to enter freshman year at college.
1957 the commissioner knew I didn’t like the other college boys and that they didn’t much like me. He took that pan off the fire by moving me over into the Sanitation Dept: OK by me, more pay, work hard, build up, go home when the work was done. I was fishing by 3 PM more afternoons. And the workers, whatever else they weren’t intellectually, had no intellectual or social pretensions. I liked them for the most part.

Ah, but still. I had income. I had spending money. Then came the summer of 1958. I thought I needed a summer school course. My buddy and I wound up renting a little Mexican shop in Greenwich Village. The whole summer turned over about $2 in profit. At least it kept us off the streets. But I was practicing what would become a lifetime of avoidance of ordinary work, ordinary ambitions, ordinary income: a career, money to live on, money and responsibility to build a normal family on.

More and more to add.

Stories by Age by Theme by Others

About pk

Seems to me that some modicum of honesty is requisite to intelligence. If we look in the mirror and see not kleptocrats but Christians, we’re still in the same old trouble.
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