Living in the country which is a slow pace of life you can stop, smell the roses or the horse barn which ever you fancy, and reflect on how people we have met since childhood and or events changed our lives. I like to use the analogy that we are those tiny little steel balls in a machine, what use to be called a pin-ball machine; do they still have those today? The ball either goes to the top and then falls straight down or it hits those round bumpers or flippers throwing the ball in different directions causing a sense of nausea.
When I was a child, I had a face that only a mother could love, which truly was a test of courage. On my birthdays I got masks of different designs, my parents got condolence cards and my dog kept running and changing his zip code. I came from a poor family who lived from pay check to pay check; we were so poor that if a round-the-world airplane ticket cost a quarter, we could not have gotten out of site, and so because there were so many other off-springs I never got to borrow the car unless I stole it, or allowed to buy my own car as my Dad complained it would raise his insurance if I got a drivers license.
My family moved from the farm, as we lost our farm due to drought and into a big city. It was fun and new but I did not like the fast pace life. My biology teacher really thought I was a lab experiment gone totally wrong, and my geometry teacher kept wondering if he should dial 911, since he was in doubt I had a pulse. I had a slow drawl in my speech so if I was asked a question in class on Monday it would reach the teacher on Tuesday.
Getting a date in High School was impossible since I had no vehicle and taking a date on the city bus was out of the question especially at a drive in movie and the city-slickers had no sense of humor. I use to hang around the skating rink a lot, and my posterior got most of the attention from the floor. Let’s face it, what girl wants to skate with a dude looking up at her all the time.
I did get a job bagging groceries and that is when you got tips back in those days, boy how times have changed and I made pretty good money. I was an enterprising young man so I took that money bought a suit which I had to share unless we were all going to the same occasion and decided to try and find something better for more money and prestige as I was eighteen now, knew more than my parents, ready to make that first million which I gave up on, now working on my second.
It was a hot day that day, Florida usually is, and back then High Schools would let a senior work half day and go to school half day if your credits were up to snuff. So, I got on my brand new dark blue suit with tie, grease my hair down with some sort of grease for hair and was great for axles as well, and took the bus to down town Jacksonville. I had an appointment at one of our fine local banks; you know the ones with the marble fronts and carving in the building to make it look, well like it was the homestead of Bill Gates who was not born yet. I had to walk a block to get to the bank and it was so hot with the humidity causing your clothes to stick to your body that you eventually looked like one of those plastic bags that someone had sucked the air out of for storage. I was about, oh, maybe thirty steps from the front door when all of a sudden it got kind of dark and white spots started hitting me in the head and all over my brand new dark blue suit. I looked up and low and behold a flock of seagulls had pin pointed their target, releasing loads with direct multiple hits, on my face, head and clothes and I knew I was in the twilight zone.
I ran to the bathroom as I had bird do-do all over my head, suit and face. I tried to wash my face and head but when I tried to wash my suit coat and pants that white fecal matter began to spread like butter on toast and it only went deeper and deeper into the fabric. You ever go into a public bathroom and the soap container is empty? In those days you had to be in a suit to land such a job and of course your hair had to be the appropriate length especially since I was applying for a teller’s position.
If you ever have had the chance to smell an old horse or cow barn, then picture in your nose a smell a hundred times worst. Needless to say I did not get the job and as a mudslide will change the direction of a river, so did the seagulls change my direction in life as I went home, took three showers and put on clean clothes and went to my local military recruiter joining since Vietnam War was in its prime.
What did I learn from this ordeal that yes was disappointing? I first learned that ..IT HAPPENS, and from the fertilizers of life we gain knowledge and wisdom. I learned never to look up with your mouth open, and carry an umbrella in Florida. No matter what life throws at you, move forward full steam a head. When you hit an obstacle in life, it is not always the path of least resistance that is the best to travel.