Category Archives: 2008


(From Spring 2017)

I just completed my 16th year at my current job.  Several of my colleagues sent nice emails to acknowledge my job longevity.  I still feel like the new kid at school, but that probably has more to do with my personality, since I can’t remember NOT feeling that way at a job.

My previous job lasted 17 years, and the job before that for seven years.  You could say that I don’t jump around a lot.  It’s either loyalty or inertia, or a lack of confidence that there will be something else out there who would hire me.

Counting a temporary job operating a candle-making machine just out of college, I’ve been working full time for more than 40 years.  In addition, I’ve been writing this column for more than 20 years, and I’ve done consulting, teaching, and other writing over the years in addition to my “day job.”

What do I have to say about work after these 40 years?  Well, the things in my life that give me the most satisfaction are my family, my garden, and the fact that I still have some hair.  But down deep, the motor that keeps me running has always been my jobs.

Having something that feels important to do every day, and to be compensated for those efforts, gives a deep satisfaction that I think people take for granted – until they find themselves without a job.

Of course, not everyone can work, and not all work generates income.  That being said, I’m glad to read reports that indicate some people who had given up on being in our nation’s workforce are re-entering the job market.  Having a job, or being otherwise needed, is like an anti-depression treatment.

Has every day at work over 40 years been pleasant?  Absolutely not.  Anything that involves other people (not of your choosing) is guaranteed to generate stress, anger, attempted murder…

But, sometimes job satisfaction comes from learning to deal with “difficult” people and situations.  Failure and other disappointments happen all the time in a career, but if you play your cards right, so do successes and satisfaction.

I’ve been fortunate to have my career result in each job being better than the one before.  Perhaps, when the time comes, retirement will be the best job yet! 


Leave a comment

Filed under 2008

Goodbye Bob

(Written on the occasion of the unexpected death of a classmate)

I was starting third grade at a new school.  My family had moved to a new old house, and the neighborhood kids all went to a different school than the one I was attending.  So, I got to be the new kid at home and at school.

Before long, a few kids from school who lived fairly close to our new home became my best friends.  One of those kids was Bobby McGuire. 

Bobby lived only a few blocks away.  He wasn’t an only child, but his step-sister was older and not around.  He had a drawer full of sweaters and matching socks. 

His home was not like mine in some ways that are a big deal to a little kid.  For one thing, they had a fridge in the basement stocked with little bottles of Coke.  And, when Sprite was introduced, they had that too.  He could have it whenever he wanted.  At our house pop was a treat, and was always a store brand.

His family had a color TV, which was also a big deal in the early 60s.  And, he had a Columbia Record Club membership, giving him access to all the records he wanted.  We’d sit in their family room and watch color TV, or drink Coke while listening to the new Beach Boys or Four Seasons record. 

 We did outside kid stuff too, like throwing and kicking the football around – once breaking a window.  We played baseball, and ran around playing war or spy or whatever.

We spent a lot of time together, along with time spent with our other classmates.

I think it was in junior high school that his family moved to a nice house on the lake.  Thanks to my bike, we continued to spend some time together, but not as much.  He hosted several boy-girl parties at his house, featuring slow dancing to “Cherish” by The Association.  We were learning to be a little less awkward.

Once high school came around we were still friends, but going from a class of 25 to a class of 900 changed things.

I’m writing this because Bobby – Bob, in recent years – passed away over the weekend.  We had seen each other a few times over the past ten years.  He had a wonderful wife who was a high school classmate, and judging by photographs on Facebook, two wonderful adult kids.

Bob was a truly nice and generous guy.  He was congenitally positive and had an explosive sense of humor.  Being happy seemed to come naturally to him.

I am very sad that he has died, and saddest for his family.  I’m also glad for the memories of Bob, and for the reminder of what a positive influence he was on the younger me.  I wish I had told him so.


Leave a comment

Filed under 2008

Political Slogans (When the GOP field was still full)

People can’t help what their names are, for the most part.  Some marry into comical names, as Jay Leno used to demonstrate occasionally with wedding announcements like “Ickey-Butz Wedding.”  And, a person can always change their name, if a judge approves.

But otherwise, we have the names we have, even if they are conducive to jokes.

Fundamentally, I think one of the lowest forms of humor is making fun of someone’s name, which is why I’m a little ashamed of doing so from time to time.  It was bad enough to tease like that in third grade, but hey, isn’t being “childlike” considered attractive?

This year’s spate, and slate of candidates provides some good opportunities for campaign slogans by virtue of their names or other non-political factors like professions or sizes.  Here are a few ideas for some of the campaigns to consider:

“Trump: He really is a card.”

“Bush: Two in the hand is worth three in the Whitehouse.”

“Hillary: Because she’s there.”

“Dr. Ben Carson for President: It’s not brain surgery.”

“Lindsay Graham: He may be from the South, but he’s not a cracker.”

“Bernie Sanders: He’s no colonel!”

“Scott Walker: He’s a runner.”

“Carly Fiorina: She’s not so vain.”

Lincoln Chafee: He won’t rub you the wrong way.”

“You can’t Missile with Cruz”

“Jim Webb: Just the facts, Ma’am.”

“Marco Rubio: A real gem.”

“Huckabee: We heart him.”

“Chris Christie: He’s half the man he used to be.”

“Rand Paul: Don’t call me Randy.”

Now, I know that not all of these campaign slogans will make sense to everyone, and I’m okay with that.  After all, if I’m going to have to put up with this two year campaign season, at least I can get some amusement out of it.

One of the best president and vice president teams was Bush and Quayle (they sounded like a bird hunting magazine). It’s too bad Lincoln Chafee didn’t run with Gerald Ford (a car dealership), or Ike Eisenhower with Mike Huckabee (Mike and Ike candy).

A year from now we’ll probably know who the final candidates will be, and I hope they’re the best our country has to offer.  But, if there’s a funny name or two in the mix, I won’t complain.

Leave a comment

Filed under 2008, 2015

Ups and Downs

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under 2008

Everybody Loves Thanksgiving

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under 2008

Brother, Can You Spare A Million?

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under 2008

Shopping Spree

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under 2008