My first job was a paper route, a long, long time ago, when I may have been eleven or twelve, but don’t quote me on that. You have no evidence, you can’t prove anything.
tag archive: memories
As a kid and still today, when I think of those words in connection with him, “electrical engineer” sounds a lot like “wizard.”
It is?! Then let me send some Playmobil firefighters to put it out.
I have experience with this sort of thing from Ms. Ness’s third grade class. We made stop motion movies that year. With the clarity of thirty years passed by, I’m certain my group of filmmakers produced a fine short film.
He was young, the first time he tried it. His older sister had said it would be okay to try. It would be good if he knew what it was about, when other people were doing it and talking about it. She couldn’t have known what it would be like for him. She would have certainly warned him strongly against it, if she had, and that might have helped him avoid what followed. But maybe not. It might have been inevitable.
Yesterday was Pearl Harbor Day. It made me think of my grandfather, Louie Carpenter. He served in World War II, in the Navy Seabees, building runways in the South Pacific.
He died when I was young, and I have few specific memories of him. Only one, really. He had been in ill health, and one day I was over at my grandparents’ house with just him and me there. He was smoking a cigarette, which I remarked on. He said, “We won’t tell your grandmother about this.”
I remember him as a calm and gentle person, in contrast to my grandmother who was kind but wound very tightly.
The first video game I remember playing on the 2600 was Asteroids. I can still hear in my head the clunky, relentless sound of it. I went over to a friend’s house and proudly reported a high score of 500,010. He and his older brother found great amusement in that, laughing as they kept repeating, “And ten!“
Once, at an age when cows loomed over me large and dangerous, I secured safe passage across the barnyard with two of my older cousins and their girl friends, but I had to return alone when one of them picked up a barn cat by the leg. I couldn’t endure witnessing that small torment, even if I was already complicit in the inevitable murder of the cows.
And as I look out over the gulf that is the need to earn a living for another twenty to thirty years, I can more readily appreciate the way that Jake lived and died. I knew so little about him, of course, but I think he had found his place in the world. A place where he could exercise mastery over and autonomy within a domain. I like to think the work brought joy to him. It didn’t matter that it was humble and poorly paid. Perhaps he was perfectly happy and had all that he needed or wanted.
Marcus Aurelius wrote, “Work out what your own nature requires, and aim at that, even if it brings you no glory. None of us is forbidden to pursue our own good.” He also wrote a lot about how we’ll all die, along with everyone who ever knew us, and ultimately be forgotten. Somehow it’s not depressing to think about that. It makes me see the benefit in living on your own terms, finding satisfaction in the moment, and not being overly concerned with the prestige of your profession.