“Over 40% of our jobs are unfilled,” the HR guy said to me. “So you can pick and choose among the ones you’re qualified for.”
“Why are so many jobs unfilled?” I asked.
“Oh, you know, kids today don’t want to work.”
“You did notice that over a million people have died of COVID so far, right? Don’t you think that makes a difference?”
“Nah,” he said. “People are just lazy.”
“I see,” I paused. “I don’t think I want to work here either.” I got up and walked out.
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Remember summer when you were a kid? When a day seemed soooo long. Being inside looking at a screen hadn’t been invented yet. That meant being outside watching ants on the sidewalk and taking bike rides to the ice cream shop. That meant afternoons at the swimming pool. It meant helping hang laundry on an actual clothesline. It meant freedom. Things are less work than they used to be, but are they better?
Spring is coming on fast. It’s different everywhere. Here the wisteria and the lilacs and the forsythia all brighten up the place. The roadrunners make an appearance hurrying down the sidewalk. The wind blows so hard even a tiny spark can turn into a raging wildfire. But the best of spring is that it reminds you it’s good to be alive. It’s good to be outside in the sun where the air is fresh and the birds are singing. Wake up, world.
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Historically speaking, I’d have to pick Christmas as my favorite holiday. The decorating, the meals on good china, the kids’ excitement over presents and surprises in stockings.
On the other hand, watching a child ooh and aah over fireworks or running about with a sparkler in hand on a summer night is a pretty good time. But have you ever noticed that the 4th of July doesn’t have a candy? No candy corn, no chocolate bunnies, no tiny hearts printed with funny stuff, no peppermint sticks. Really, every holiday needs a candy.
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As a kid I was a big tomboy. An only child, I became my father’s son and companion for hunting, fishing, and golf. My mom taught me to cook and made me responsible for washing the dishes every day before she got home from work. I rode my bike all over my small Colorado town without fear. I read millions of books and played all four sides of a Monopoly board by myself. I wanted to be a writer when I grew up.
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I don’t miss writing checks to pay for everything and mailing them off in stamped envelopes to pay my bills. I don’t miss getting a whole chicken to cut up and then having to find someone foolish enough to eat the giblets. I don’t miss unairconditioned houses. I don’t miss twisting the handle on a mimeograph machine to make copies. I don’t miss those aspects of my youth. But I do miss my youth.
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Ah, early morning. The sun is just peeking over the horizon, the air is cool. The sound of doves and some other noisy chirper fills the air. A cup of hot coffee in hand and a quick check of the news sets up the day for a walk while the shadows are still long and the sprinklers are churring. Good morning!
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Every fall the big tree in my yard dumps 15 giant garbage bags of leaves for me to rake and bag. I think I’ll move to an apartment if I don’t have to clean up the leaves ever again. But then I think if I move the people in the apartment above me probably walk around all day like elephants. My house is nice and quiet. Decisions, decisions . . .
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Granny said S-H-I-T and spelled it out. She never said the actual word. Grannies were different then. Now they say everything just like the rest of the world, toddlers included. I recall the first time I said ‘shit’ out loud. I was in 7th grade, at the swimming pool. I was walking by myself and uttered the forbidden word to myself. It changed my life, saying that word out loud. Now I say everything just like the grannies and toddlers.
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I learned I could live on a deserted island during this pandemic. Provided I had plenty to eat. And assuming the place wasn’t full of hungry predators who were bigger than I am. Actually, maybe what I really learned is that I can be isolated in my comfy home for months at a time and not go stark raving mad. We writers have an advantage over the rest of the world. We are introverts. Another advantage is that we produce whole worlds in our imagination – so who needs anything outside the house?
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