A million years ago, I was a clerk in my small-town drug store, selling cigarettes, racing forms, and New York Times to townies, and candy and rolling papers to super-cute prep boys, released early on Wednesday and Saturday afternoons. I begged and pleaded to work on prep school days.
There was one particular townie who gave me much more attention than any rich boarding school kid. He was a town staple who we would refer to today as “developmentally disabled” or “intellectually or learning challenged.” We weren’t that kind back then.
Everyone knew him. Larry. He was really old. Must have been about 30. He’s still 30 today, or was about 10 years ago when I last saw him. He didn’t miss a beat when he bee lined across the same pharmacy parking lot – like he knew: “Hey you! Workin’ hard? Orrrrr, hardly workin? Ha! Gotta flat tire?”
He has an infatuation with flat tires. “Got a flat tire? Huh? Gotta flat tire?”
He has one arm, rumor had it he lost it in a garbage truck. Not sure if it’s true, but that’s the story.
What I do know is this: Larry would come into the store every day, several times a day, and lean across the counter, look me in the eye and say,
And he’d slap that one good hand on the counter – loud – and walk away laughing, shaking his head, snickering.
I hear Larry constantly, as I prioritize and make lists and contemplate hitting send and hesitate pulling the trigger and struggle get work done, but don’t have much to show for it. Nothing tangible at least.
I work hard all day, every second accounted for. And I really, really like what I’m doing.
Or not doing.
Because come 2:22 pm, just when I log-off and gas up to start the mom-thing, the swim, drivers ed, track, soccer, basketball, homework, band, forgotten book, hair-doc-dentist-orthodontist, groceries, school project driving bonanza, I can’t show anything for it.
Nothing. Not yet anyways.
I’m not really sure what I do all day, Larry, but know this:
I am working hard not doing it.