Jobs

People keep asking me if I’m planning on retiring soon. “No,” I tell them. “I actually enjoy working and always have” My first big day of work came at the age of 11, in February 1966, when two feet of snow shut down New York City for a week and my two brothers and I hired ourselves out shoveling sidewalks. The $5 earned that first day was a big supplement to our weekly allowance and gave me a taste that there was more to be made out there. I later somehow landed a job with a door-to-door salesman distributing leaflets ahead of his house-to-house calls. Unfortunately, I got a little confused as to which streets I was supposed to be on and missed about half of the assigned deliveries. By the summer of 1967 I had a paper route, delivering about 40 copies every day of “Newsday,” the Long Island newspaper. As I recall, it was afternoon delivery during the week, mornings on weekends. I had a giant metal basket attached to the front of my bicycle and would fold the papers into a tightly wrapped bundle that I would wing towards the front porch of houses on my neighborhood...Read more

Home Appliances

It has been a while since my last post. I seem to have fallen into the habit of having too much to do and not enough time to get it done. These last three weeks, when I should have been writing one of these every few days, I was instead in some sort of major domestic undertaking. First, we had to gut the entire basement so that the home repair guys could install sump pumps and a de-humidifier. Then spring sprang and I had to get ahead of the yard before it got ahead of me. In between came a business trip – my first out-of-town foray in a year. Along the way I honed my little supply of power tools. It’s not much when compared to the arsenal your average golf course superintendent has. But then I’m tending only 2.36 acres, not 200. And our standards for grooming are a little slacker than at your average country club. My wife, Jane, prides herself on being an organic gardener. At home that means we have no turfgrass lawn and we avoid bug sprays, inorganic fertilizers or weed killer. We’re all for promoting bees and other pollinators along with bats, birds...Read more

Book Group

I always get a little nervous when it’s my month to pick the book. You’d think I would have gotten used to it. After all, the eight of us have been in our little book group for 13 years now. Whoever’s month it is gets to pick the next read. This time around I’ve assigned the least likely selection I would ever pick, the cyberpunk, sci-fi classic “Neuromancer” (1983) by William Gibson. Having just finished reading it I know I have reason to be worried how they’ll react. It’s a very strange novel, virtually impossible to follow through a delineated plot line – a hybrid that merges the film “Matrix” with William Burroughs’ “Naked Lunch.” At least I’ll be able to count on lively conversation about the book. And that all who attend will have read it. Among the many great things about our group is that we come prepared and stick to the topic. That’s been the most satisfying thing about the group – and the fact that we have basically held together, through the occasional illness, job loss and, lately, pandemic. We still meet eleven times a year, skipping only August. And folks show up on time, precisely...Read more