Photo of the Day

5:00 in the morning.  Up and at’em, hands poised over the keyboard at this early hour, on the pretext that this is my habit. Writing.  

I would just as soon roll over, settle back undercover, into the familiar warm depression and tangle of bedding.  Close eyes and let sleep take over until sunrise. Another two hours to rest.  

But no. No rest for the weary, sleepy, happy, dopey or grumpy, as they say. Seems it’s off to work I go, tapping on keys. “Beating the daylights out” (wondering where that expression comes from), readying myself for the drive uptown later this morning. . . headed to another desk in the office where I’m employed, the place I will spend the entire day in the same posture, the same activity as now, tapping away at a keyboard. Writing.  


This is what I do. I have no wish to do otherwise today. I like my work, I am deeply habituated to it. I have no plans to retire, though the age looms and there will be decisions to make and a transition to navigate.  Soon.  Sooner or later.  Not now.  

Moments ago I opened an email from my brother-in-law, announcing his retirement. A short plat planner for the city of Seattle, he’s been working that one gig for thirty-five years, or something like that.  He’s had no other job to my knowledge. One place, all those years. Steady work. Steady worker. Working right up and through the holidays, retiring with lunch at noon on December 31 with many Happy new years ahead. 

Steady.  I would say that describes my work-style, as well.  I have worked nonstop since the summer I graduated from college.  

How many jobs have I had? 

Never counted.  Let’s see: a dozen or so: 

Four short “apprenticeships” as a copywriter and art director of sorts in retail, working in-house at department stores (good for the development of a fashion sense and shopping discounts) 

Two short passages and two long journeys home as a writer and creative director in ad agencies. (Had my fun.)

A seven-year stint as a public relations writer for a non profit org. Good, serious hard work.  

Four years of smoke, mirrors and alchemy as an exhibit developer for a science museum, until it closed its doors a year ago.  (No worries, the museum is reopening after Christmas.)

One year as a web content developer, writing and editing a monthly newsletter. 

Seems I’m an old dog. Still learning new tricks. Still running in the park, well, figuratively speaking.    

If you’ve ever owned a dog, one you’ve raised as a pup, groomed and nurtured as “one of your own” dear members of the family, then you know, it takes many dog years to cultivate that mutual unconditional love which can exist between species, human and canine.  

Old dogs are the best.  

Long-time employment ain’t so bad either. 

The pace of my new job is supposedly slower - a three-day work week gives me time and space to roam, to write, to pick up a camera and play.  Old working dog that I am, I’m loyal, tenacious. Throw me a bone, I’ll chew on it for days. Still working with a purpose, on the short leash of people to reach and deadlines to meet.  Sit. Stay. 

I laugh when I think of my past work-lives.  Bad dog!  Running-crazy dog.  Bitch. Ad show dog, Barking at strangers. Chewing up the furniture. Tearing up newspapers. Working in advertising, I had my run.  I had my pups. I won some medals.  

What irony: I’m a far better dog, an older but wiser writer now than I ever was back then, in the day.  

Old dogs.  Dang, if they don’t just keep getting better!  

About the dog in the photo: he’s not my pooch. I just caught his eye and he stayed to chat with me as I poked my hand and camera through his gate during a walk down his street in Lincoln Park, Chicago.  Photo taken September 2012.  

Thanks for walking by. 

Views: 76

Comment by Jonathan Wolfman on December 6, 2012 at 6:06am

I am happier at 61bthan I was at 21. Not even close.

Comment by greenheron on December 6, 2012 at 6:16am

One of my favorite Studs Terkel books was 'Working'.  Maybe my biggest surprise reading it was how content most people he spoke with were in their jobs.  Even those who I would have thought might have hated their work: waitresses, custodians, cleaners. It is nice that we find satisfaction in what we do, whatever that might be.  It all matters.  The man who arranged the display of clementine oranges I just ate...great job!

Comment by JMac1949 Memories on December 6, 2012 at 7:39am

Twenty years ago I volunteered at a rehab facility in downtown LA to be a job counselor for addicts and ex-cons and after a two hour interview with the managing director they had a quick meeting and decided that I should be the guy to take over  the orientation presentation for their employment re-entry program: two hours with a pee break for folks down on their luck who were looking to get a job.  Why me? Well after that two hours talking with the director, we filled in all the gaps in my storied thirty year (from ages 14-45) work history and counted up 53 full time and part time  direct employment, day work and contract jobs.  I guess she figured that if anybody knew how to go about finding work it would be me.  Work isn't that hard to find if you can figure out how to get it... and don't mind starting off as a grunt.  Great pic of the dorg... old dorgs is gud... old dorgs don't know how to lie and they keep you warm in bed.  Good post.

Comment by Zanelle on December 6, 2012 at 8:01am

Yep,  us old dogs have to stick together.   At sixty six tomorrow I am semi retired and I don't even know what that means.  I just do what I love and it sounds like you do too.  Glad your brother will retire.  I wonder what he will do.  Some people are able to relax and still be active.  Some go a little nuts without a routine.  I love your writing.  Thanks.

Comment by Boanerges on December 6, 2012 at 9:03am

(@Zanelle: Happy Birthday!)

Been out of the workforce for five-plus years now and don't miss it a bit. I feed my writing jones on places like this (albeit under pseudonyms). That's good enough for me.


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