Whoa! Didja get the numbers off that truck?!?

October 26, 2001 - 11:06 p.m.

What for

The wild ride started when my young boss marched with me back to his office, and he handed me the large white envelope with my name on it. My severance contract was inside, waiting for my signature. In a shaky voice he said the words I already knew heíd say. It was the practiced speech heíd already given three other people. I wasnít prepared for the emotion heíd pour forthÖ he wasnít good at this. He choked back his tears in the spirit of professionalism.

There wasnít much left to do but go back to my office and pack stuff up. I didnít have much because I hadnít been there long. I wasnít moved in yet.

There was a reason for the ironic turn my life had taken. I left my previous job because I was hoping to avoid the obvious result of the turn of events. And as it turns out the fate I was trying to avoid by changing jobs actually caught up with me as a result of the job change!

As I drove home in shock I wondered what I wanted to be when I finally grew up. I had spent the last twelve years of my career cultivating a talent that seemed to be dying in demand. Plus, itís not really all that much fun. I took care of the details that no one else really liked dealing with. I attempted to fix the problems that no one can see or feel or hear, but manifest themselves through lab testing. And in the worst cases they happen and make things unsafe. Iím supposed to keep that from happening. Itís a mixture of art and science.

I really didnít want to be that anymore, I thought, as I drove through the road construction mess for presumably the last time. Something different I thought. As I drove by all those people who had jobs, unlike me, I thought of what I could be when I grew up. Sell mortgages? Sell real estate? You want fries with that? I just didnít know.

I had two months to figure something out.

There are those among us who feel that life is full of purpose. Everything happens for a reason, and God is the one who knows the plan. Itís up to us to stumble through it all and figure out why it happens the way it does. I can see the wisdom in that but I have a slightly different take on it. I think that every time we make a decision, it creates a new matrix of choices. It encompasses everything we do down to the smallest detail. If we choose to take a different route to a destination, infinite arrays of new scenarios present themselves. Itís very complex when looked at it microscopically, but from a macroscopic viewpoint itís easier to look at. In my view God doesnít pull the strings, he watches bemused as we make our choices.

Unemployment sucks. Thank God its Friday loses all itís meaning. The hollow gnawing feeling of hopelessness is fueled by the sober reality that thereís a finite amount of paychecks. That startling wakeup call at 6 AM when consciousness spreads like butterfly wings opening and you realize theres no job to go to. You wonder who will make the car payment. What if Son2 breaks his leg?

And then the towers exploded. As the USA was absorbing the new world reality and asking why, I was emailing my resume to anyone I could find.

I havenít given up on my desire to do something different. I donít want to be a victim of someone elseís bad decisions anymore. I want something I can control. Iíve found what I want and I can make it happen, itís just a matter of timing. But, itís going to happen.

I discussed this with my Older brother. What he told me inspired me to pursue it further, but I donít think thatís what he had in mind. I look at what heís done and what heís accomplished, and how heís advised others. He advised Newt against pursuing the business that has become a very lucrative source of income for her. He has two grown daughters who apparently hate him and never want to see him again. He pursues fitness and exercise with furor and determination that an eager hamster might have in itís wheel; running for itís life, avoiding the specter of old age. This is what he told me when I described my future plans to him:

ďYouíre not wired that way.Ē

He doesnít know that the wires are not soldered in place.

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