Lightly Roasted: Many talents to leverage

I started my career as a teacher, the head of an orphanage and a Hollywood starlet. Then I turned 5.

I played hide-and-seek for a while, showing great promise, and spent a bunch of years in our public school system tuning in and out like a human transistor radio. Then, in college, I majored in theater and studied voice. Never mind that my ability was pretty average. I just liked playing. Impractical for earning a living, sure, but I was 17. I’m not sure I ever outgrew that way of handling money.

We all feel drawn to certain things – often, in many directions. Hard to imagine, but I once felt a very strong calling, quite spiritually based. But when I really thought it through, I realized I might not be able to make the sacrifices needed to drive a Good Humor truck. So, I became a nurse.

Nursing is a drama of sorts. If you don’t mind various fluids, nursing feels creative. OK, I do mind some bodily things very much, but that’s where my shaky acting ability comes in handy. (“Really, no worries – gasp – here’s an emesis basin for the next round, now feel better – gulp – excuse m—-”) As a nurse, I particularly liked the excitement of obstetrics. The babies were great listeners, especially during my rendition of “Macbeth,” with “Stairway To Heaven” thrown in after each Shakespearean death scene.

Decades later, an accident brought a career change. After enough days of studying the peeling paint on our kitchen window sill, I found a part-time job.

It was a disaster. I can’t go into detail, because the company made me sign something saying I would never, under any circumstances, reveal the important secrets they shared. Was I working for the CIA? FBI? Witness Protection? No. It was a jewelry store, where ringing up a simple purchase practically required an MBA. Creativity was not encouraged. Metaphorically, we colored inside the lines. Extremely narrow lines. I lasted three months. What can I say about the experience? Nothing. Nothing at all. The secret to selling jewelry cleaner will die with me.

Moving along, the next job was the best ever – gathering pamphlets and various items for distribution. Though far from nurses’ wages, it didn’t matter. I was in kindergarten all over again, drawing on sticky notes using bright markers, organizing stuff, making handmade labels, drinking coffee, having snack time, cutting, and taping boxes for mailing. I think I wore out my welcome when the boss saw the monthly packing tape bill, but let me tell you, no box I taped up ever came undone. Ever. Even by the person on the receiving end.

Now, I have some new ideas for personal fulfillment and financial stability:

1. I excel at applauding. Friends, don’t let a boy sing his heart out in a school production of “Anything Goes” without a good round of clapping. And graduations? Some students have their own loud cheering section: “Way to go, Bobby!” and “Yo, Sarah!” Others have but a smattering of embarrassingly quiet golf-tournament applause. For a few bucks, I’d clap for those kids as though they were my own. For an added fee, I’d hoot. Screaming doesn’t come cheap, people. I have bills to pay, too.

2. I’m an exquisite crier. And I don’t mean town crier, as in Patrick Henry or Paul Somebody or whoever it was who rode through some town somewhere yelling about people’s arms and red coats. I’ve become somewhat of an expert at letting the tears flow. Yes, it originates from loss, but still, if one can cry in the frozen food section at the grocery store, how awesome would it be to portray the pseudo-“aunt” from away who dabs tears at a wedding? Or at your 10-year-old’s piano recital? I also do a mean “Bravo!” Yes, it’s extra.

3. I can nag. Just ask my children. Parents could hire me to call their college-age kids to see if they’re eating right and making “good choices.” Wherever hounding is needed, I’d be your man. I mean, nag. BTW, can we please talk about what you ate for breakfast today? Not later. Now.

I realize these plans may not come to fruition. However, I still have all my part-time writing projects, also referred to as “your losses are greater than your income” by my accountant.

I’m not sure, but I think she says this like it’s a good thing.

Wow! Who knew I was so financially savvy?

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