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Saturday
Apr182009

Scrabble for the dead.

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Lately, there's been a lot of talk around here about getting jobs. My son, the musician, came out to the studio yesterday, somewhat dejectedly, & said he needed some ideas. I want a job that leads somewhere, that pays me a lot in a very short amount of time & that doesn't take a whole lot of work, he said. Preferably, I'd like to be famous, so I can keep doing what I'm doing now. Only get paid for it.

He has a very wry delivery, so it actually took me several minutes before I figured out that he was absolutely serious about it.

Look, I said to him, it's kind of like that old construction triangle: cheap, fast & good. Except worse.

What do you mean? he said.

Well, with the construction thing, you can have any two. You can have it cheap & fast, but it won't be good. Or you can have it good & fast, but it won't be cheap. Like that.

So how's it worse? he said.

In your case, you only get one of them. Except for the getting paid a whole lot in a very short amount of time. Oh & the not having to do any work, I said. You basically just get to have whatever job you can find.

Whoa, he said. That IS worse.

He put his head down on his knees & sighed. & suddenly, I remembered a long-ago conversation with this same son about the kind of work he'd like to do when he got older.

I want to invent a career that doesn't have a whole lot of competition, he said.

Any ideas? I said.

I kind of like Teaching Board Games to the Dead.

I agreed with him. Not a lot of competition there.

He smiled & the room lit up. My second choice is inventing things, he said.

What kind of things? I asked.  

You know, things like electricity. Or China. Or the Blues. I could be the little white boy that invented the Blues...

But, all that stuff's already invented, I said. I still remember the withering look he gave me.

Dad, he said, have a little imagination.

Have a little imagination. Maybe that's the thing he's missing in his current dilemma. He's so fixated on the job without any effort combination that he's forgotten that any work we do is an act of imagination. The most tedious job is an opportunity to bring your own life & energy & will into play. It's a regular refrain in our house: You're going to have to do it anyway, so you might as well have fun with it. While this is usually in relation to dishes, or taking out the garbage, it's equally applicable to other kinds of work.

In that spirit, I give you Scrabble for the Dead. It's a quiet job, with plenty of time for reading, or thinking. I'm not sure about the pay, but it's definitely got room for an ambitious person to write their own ticket. Or use it as a stepping stone to bigger things. Feel free to take it & run with it. At least, it's a start...

with love, Brian

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Reader Comments (1)

Wouldn't hangman be more appropriate?

--Nancy

April 18, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterNancy friedlland

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