Saturday, May 23, 2020

A Day Late and a Dollar Short


This is a weekly column consisting of letters to my perspicacious progeny. I write letters to my grandchildren (who exist), and my great-grandchildren (who don't) — the Stickies — to haunt them after they become grups or I'm deleted.

                                -Image from dracomania.org-
                  
Warning: This column is rated SSC — Sexy Seasoned Citizens — Perusal by kids, callowyutes, and/or grups may result in a debilitating intersectional triggering

                                                  Glossary  

                                                    About

Erratically Appearing Hallucinatory Guest Star: Dana — A Gentlerreader

"I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work." -Thomas Edison


Dear (eventual) Grandstickies & Great-Grandstickies (& Gentlereaders),

I've been thinking about karma lately and it's occurred to me that perhaps bad karma explains the fact that the phrase a day late and a dollar short neatly encapsulates a recurring theme in my life. 

I've also been thinking about the fact that a pair of large corporate entities, at whose hands I suffered, have gone out of business.

Are these two phenomena related?

Nah... Right?


Once upon a time, In Youngstown, Ohio, a man named Harry Burt, who owned a candy shop, invented what is now the world-famous Good Humor bar. Mr. Burt was a little known business genius who died when he was only 51 years old leaving his widow to fight his (patent) battles.

In the spring of 1981, a hippie with a job quit and became a Good Humor man on a whim. Like almost everyone who ever drove an ice cream truck of some sort, I stumbled into the business. I needed the cash.

The bad news is the business had already peaked and a long, slow slide had begun.

I loved the work, the money was good, and I was in and out of the business over the course of the next several years. However, I was involved in a business of slowly diminishing returns.

I was a day late and had accidentally entered the field when I was a dollar short.


Not long after my first foray into popsicle peddling, I found myself working for Kmart as an overworked, underpaid stockroom boss and then, briefly, a store manager trainee.

This was all about "getting straight" (which didn't mean then what it does now) to qualify for getting married to a blond girl next door type and making a baby, maybe two.

Neither I nor the Kmart corporation knew that they had peaked and were about to be destroyed by WallyWorld.

First, Kmart broke my heart, and then she did. I was training to become a computer programmer (the getting married thing again) when she started using my testicles as a trapeze.

This was just the first time Kmart would break my heart (more on that anon), it was the second time a woman did — there had been this hippie chick with a job...


Fast forward to our hero attempting to heal his broken heart via a geographic cure. When I came to I was managing a fleet of ice cream trucks in Austin, Texas.

As my dear Stickies know, I hired the woman who would shortly be my wife. She came pre-equipped with a ten-year-old who grew up to be their mom. Lured to Ohio by my late wife to meet her family, I got stuck and took up temporary residence.

We were supposed to return to Texas but 35 years later I'm still living here
temporarily. But the mountains of North Carolina are calling out to me in my dreams...

[Are they yodeling?]


Anyways, being an allegedly full-fledged grown up with a wife and daughter, I became an assistant warehouse manager for Toys Were Us. They eventually discovered that they had also peaked and would, in short order, also be destroyed by WallyWorld.

Toys etc. treated me even worse than Kmart had.

BIG BUT
There was a management buyout eventually and I had gone to a great deal of trouble (I had been tipped off) to be one of the folks invited to leave while not getting fired while waiting for the ax to fall.

This enabled me to buy an ice cream truck — almost an exact copy of the one pictured above — and start dreaming about becoming a goody bar mini-mogul.

ANOTHER BIG BUT
Life happened to me while I was making other plans and when I came to this time I found myself a widower managing a crew of 18 for a commercial cleaning contractor. We cleaned a hooge warehouse.

It was a distribution center owned by a much diminished Kmart.

Once again, I (and 18 other victims) were screwed over by Kmart Inc. and I found myself a fifty-something white, cisgender male without privilege at the height of the Great (so far, stay tuned...) Recession.

Hilarity ensued.

I limped — literally, I had what turned out to be a busted hip — to early retirement and was appropriately punished for my crime by the Social Security Administration.

I derive no joy from the fact Kmart and We Were Toys (effectively) are history. All those lost jobs... Nothing to do with me, right?

Poppa loves you,
Have an OK day

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