(6) Last night, Rodney's mother was talking about one of my cousins who changes jobs a lot. Mom said that, like me, this cousin doesn't know what they want to be when they grow up, but, Mom added, at least this cousin tries new things. As someone once said, who better to push your buttons than the person who installed them.
- Since I was a wee lad I have always wanted to draw comic books. After I graduated from high school, while I was working at the local Super S Food Store, I applied to the Joe Kubert School of Cartoon and Graphic Art. Rodney's mother helped me prepare a portfolio to send off to this school. I was interviewed by Joe Kubert himself! (It was phone interview, and the guy said he was Joe Kubert, anyway.) I was accepted. Then I began to hear all the reasons why I couldn't go: too far away, no money for tuition, have to work full-time to have a place to live, and the ever popular, "you'll just give up anyway." I was advised that I had better focus my attentions on my job at the grocery store, because I could be a supervisor. After a couple of weeks of this, I declined my position at the school.
- After I became night manager of the store (eventually working my way to assistant manager), one of our employees got beat up by his step dad. (In retrospect, he deserved it.) When he was accepted to Schreiner College, now University, suddenly being a supervisor for a small grocery chain was beneath me. I was encouraged to apply, and money for my education appeared from thin air. When I thought about teaching for a living, it got a partial okay. (Aunt Audrey was especially happy about that choice.) Then I fell into the Japan Exchange program. I was told that whatever it took, I could go. I came back with a burning desire to teach English in Japan. (Admittedly, I had a girlfriend in Japan, something that hadn't happened too often here.) I was encouraged to apply for graduate school to get a teaching degree. I did. I got in. I worked part time for R. J. Reynolds Tobacco Company.
- After I graduated from UT, with a degree in foreign language education and a minor in English as a Second Language, I applied for teaching jobs in Japan, and had a couple of phone interviews and even had a glimmer of hope about getting a job in Japan. Now all the objections about me going to Japan surfaced: too far from family, need to pay student loans, you should work for the tobacco company, etc. So I declined the job in Japan and got a job selling cigarettes. The company was great to work for. But I hated every minute of the job. I lasted 5 years. (At least my cousin tries new jobs.)
- I could take it no longer. I left RJR under less than flattering circumstances. Frankly, I abandoned the job. I couldn't even face my boss, who I really liked. I moved back home. I got a job at Gastehaus Schmidt instead.
I used to try new things. Things I wanted to do. But each time I get excited about something, I get to hear about all the reasons why it wouldn't work out, and about how I should be practical, and work in another field where I could advance. While my mother may be disappointed with how my life turned out, I ain't too much happier. But I have learned to settle for things, because I have been taught to. Should the flames of passion engulf me, I can count on Mom to come along and put out the fire. Now, I don't try new things, so Mom won't have to get all worked up about how I will eventually fail anyway.