How many jobs have I had?
That question was in one of those quizzes passed around last spring and I came across my list. I think I will just report to the turn of the century since the last ten years have been very good and very happy.. But probably boring to most of you. It does help to revisit your past employment and get a perspective. It is therapeutic. This my list with pictures and I think you might get a chuckle.. Or mad.. Whatever:
1. Mowed lawns from the time I could push the blasted thing
This was taken at the end of my mowing career. Things just got a little too weird and I had to move on.
2. Bought and resold candy from an undisclosed location until the local parents shut us down because all their spare change was disappearing.
Authorities raiding our neighborhood candy store. We couldn’t eat it all before they busted through the door. Joey was in the tunnel and they never caught up with him.
3. Was enslaved by my older sister’s husband in the summers from the age of 15 until I was 17 years old building swimming pools.
Here is a pretty close depiction of the work environment in the swimming pool business. It was grueling work but it paid well.
4. After the first summer before high school building pools, I applied and went to work at Six Flags at age 16 flipping burgers. After several weekends of that I learned my lesson and retired from the restaurant business, then went back to pool building.
This is kinda what Six Flags looked like behind the scenes in food service. I was at the bottom of the loser totem pole at that place.
5. Worked for Texstar Plastics around Christmas while in high school helping with inventory.
One of my co-workers during break. He confided in me that he was in the jail work release program. I could not convince him that I wasn’t there for the same reason.
6. Grapevine Golf Course digging sand traps right out of high school.. Mowing greens occasionally. about a month or so.. Then the mowing weirdness began creeping up again. So no future in greenskeeping for me.
The Greenskeeper there made the daily work interesting…
7. National Car Rental for several months.. first in the lot and then behind the counter.. A tie did not go well with me then..
This was our manager on our end of the airport. He claimed he had a plan to hold our entire planet hostage. I think he went on to become one of Al Gore’s advisers before moving to Iran.
8. Next it was full time at Texstar Plastics in the store room and got a CDL to drive trucks.
When I came back as an employee my old co-worker not only was out of jail but had received a promotion. It was my first taste of how it works in the corporate world. He treated me so differently this time around: giving me all the crappy work and graveyard shifts.
9. Went to work building Bedford Methodist as a carpenter’s apprentice.. that was a rush working 45 feet up on beams with no safety nets. Met Sterling Hartwell (carpenter/architect/Tommy Chong looking dude). We exchanged numbers when they laid us off toward the end of the structural framing stage.
During break from working up high.
10. Went to work for Avis as a car mover. Drove the hell out of cars all over DFW area… we did some really stupid and crazy stuff there.. (I guess because everyone else did?.. stupid).. I could go on and on about that couple of months but I left when Sterling called me because he had landed a job for his own company.. so I left just before they all got caught and fired.. (for real)
Pete was another driver at Avis. Here is a shot out my back window of him tailgating me at 80 mph. Real horror show.
11. Daybreak Enterprises (Sterling’s Company) as a carpenter and he taught me a lot. I really learned everything fast and we were great friends. did that with him for a couple of years.. lots of great stories there too..
Bad Company: Do we look like the kind of guys that you would give a nail gun to? Any kind of gun? Sterling has moved on to better guns. That’s me in the plaid coat.
12. I did lots of odd carpentry jobs for a while.. partied a lot, went to work on a framing crew in Arlington, partied more.. and more.. before moving with my next wife to the panhandle of Texas..
Panhandle of Texas: Flat, cold, windy and dry.
13. Went to work in Borger (Panhandle hell) watering greens at night and killing rattlesnakes.
That course was crawling with ’em and they were big. I killed several in self defense: walking up to the greens at night to turn off the water they would be waiting to greet me.
14. Worked for a guy in Amarillo framing apartments.. that was framing hell: kind of like one of those slave ships where you keep rowing or face summary execution.
What a nightmare this job was. There were 20-30 men working and after being there 6 weeks they all quit, were killed or replaced. I needed the job, so I kept rowing.
15. Curtis Munger Construction: He and his father rode me hard and put me away wet.. lots of chiding and good natured abuse.. would trade that for nothing.. great men.. big hearts.. They really refined my skills. Worked with them until ’85.
I was practicing my sawing skills when the Mungers hired me.
16. Went to work for myself subcontracting work from contractors and builders and framers for several years until I moved back to DFW. Amarillo is a strange place and I have lots of great fodder for writing based on all my experiences there. Have you ever seen the Cadillac Ranch?
I noticed the population was getting smaller while I was living in the Panhandle. I was wandering around the outskirts and came across these. Wasn’t sure if they were the original owners of the Cadillac Ranch cars or just outsiders who didn’t make it… Or they all Gnarfled the Garthok..In any case it was time to leave.
17. Cougar Enterprises: Problem solver, carpenter.. did everything that had to be done from the time the restaurants were framed until they opened.. worked long hours and learned a lot of commercial construction’s aspects and detailing.
One of the superintendents for Cougar. He ran off and joined the carnival sometime after I left there.
18. Back to work for myself again for ten years. Left DFW in 1999 and moved to Hill Country Hell: Leakey.. beautiful place but trapped in a paradise filled with more than a few nasty people. (and a few nice ones)
Some of the locals sizing us up. I swear I heard banjo music. Those hills had eyes..
19. Put together a bookkeeping program and business plan for an upstart newspaper my brothers and sisters had.. until they fired me for insubordination. <-(click here to see the video)
Pretty close symbolic depiction of my unceremonious firing from the paper and departure from Leakey. They even took my badges.
20. Tried to start a construction company there. Shut out by the locals <-(Click here for the video), I ended up mainly going to San Antonio to work so we ended up moving there.
They said: Get out this town by noon. You’re coming on way too soon. And besides that, we never liked you anyway. (John Prine’s “Take It Back”)
And the rest is history:
It’s good to be alive.
It’s good to have a Godly wife.
It’s good to be back in the city where I was born.
It’s good to be back in business.
It’s good to be restored.
Apart from Christ I can do no (good) thing (reference the above list).