“Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.”


He sat in solitude outside Caribou.

“What the F are you doing here?” I questioned the west-sider. Not only a theater friend, Paul is the only equity actor ever burdened singing a duet with me on stage!). Indeed, just sharing that song in “Threepenny Opera” had given me street cred.

“New job,” he muttered. “Working.”

I saw pain in his eyes, and understood. (For years Paul’d been paid to do what he loved: act. The market, I suppose, and even his age perhaps, had changed things. Pushing 60, he was compelled now, to get a real job.

I get it. I sense the vitality he felt all those years, charging out into the world each day all full of (as my Dad would say) “piss and vinegar”—doing what he loved…and how different it is for him now.

I never had that: the ardent fervor for career. Ever. Passions felt have been many, from family to athletics to lodge to theater to love—but never for work. To me, even in the glory days, it was only a job.

I was always going to college. At no time though, meandering through Brush High, were career plans on my playlist. Ever. As such, my higher education would have twists and turns not often associated with upward mobility.

For starters, it began in East Lansing. Our dad, (always my Pied Piper), unveiled this brainstorm.

“Michigan State has the best radio/tv school in the Midwest,” he’d announced, in deference to my interest in broadcasting. (I would last there one quarter—straight A’s, I might add), before bailing to Columbus. The boys were there, you see–my high school pals— and in the state up north, one was a very lonely number!

Transferring in, I hit Ohio running. Within a year thoughts of show business vaporized. I would spend the next three years being perhaps the only one on campus neither getting high nor making plans.

Stuart, as much as anyone, had my ear. As such, his insistence that I major in accounting had me doing so—for a quarter. The hours I spent in Hagerty Hall! LIFO? FIFO? Are you kidding me? (Perhaps that’s when I stopped hitting classes?)

“You belong in sales,” my Dad urged often, and I agreed.
“Well,” remarked Fenton, “You should sell your books.”
“Then you know what you would have, B?”
“No,” I offered, naively.
“Well…You’d have a ‘going out of business’ sale!”

Next came theater…for a quarter. This ill-fated venture ended abruptly one Tuesday at 15th and High. All theater majors, it turned out, were required to attend a performance of “Carmen” at Mershon Auditorium. I tried; I really did. I was sitting there with Linda Weisberg when, midway through the opera’s first act, I just couldn’t take it and walked out. It wasn’t a date or anything; leaving—even changing my major— made total sense.

“As long as you’re not sure what to do,” urged my father, “Get a teaching certificate.” (Worrying so of the draft, he knew teaching meant military deferment).

Fleeing to Arps Hall, I took a B.S. in Education. English was my major, Psych my minor, student-taught in Worthington… and never looked back. Truth be known though, until Engagement The First, when The Jersey Girl said I wasn’t allowed to, I figured I’d sell Highlights. I liked it.

—-And No, I was apathetic about my major; I just didn’t care. I had no passion.—no fervent desire to any one thing. Who did?

Take Wieder. Do you think even ONCE he turned to me at Brush, or in college and said “When I grow up I want to live on a mountaintop in South Africa and write books? Lord knows I’d take a bulletin for Alan, but I remember that first year in Drackett. He couldn’t spell “professor”.

Arthur? He may be my only lifelong friend to live his adolescent dream.
There were 16 in our club those days. One out of sixteen?

…Which makes my friend lucky—Paul that is. And blessed. He’s had a good run, spending the guts of his lifetime doing what he’s loved most. Daily. Some people, as good as they are at what they do, never have that pleasure.

Like me.

3 Responses to “GET A JOB”

  1. bob says:

    You are too hard on the 16 and yourself. So what if you didn’t have a plan. I lived out my plan after college and did broadcasting of sports just never at the Pro level. Ricky did music and went to the west coast. Just never got a gold record. And Mark wanted to be a pharmacist. That was a bad paln but a plan. Fred wanted to marry a wealthy girl. The other Alan wanted to be an attorney and he is. Will planned to be a pro ball player and he was. Ricky wanted to be a DR. and he is, Dennis wanted to be a sloth and he is. so Arthur was not alone. Good for your friend Paul but plans sometimes change for good reason. Paul may find his next plan to be a better one.
    Your plans are always changing and from what I can tell your current ones are working out just fine.

  2. Up From Dysfunction says:

    well said. bb

  3. Robert Burns says:

    The best laid schemes o’ mice an’ men gang aft agley.”

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