I’m sorry I couldn’t make it to the high school reunion–you all seemed to have such a good time catching up. Some of you have been kind enough to email me and ask what I’ve been up to for the past 45 years. So let’s see. As many of you may recall, I wanted to be a writer. I was young, and didn’t realize that isn’t a thing. Also, you’re supposed to write what you know, and I didn’t know anything. And the things I was starting to learn were not things I wanted to write about as long as my mother was alive. So it took me a little time to find my calling.
I went off to college intending to be a psychology major, only I’d figured out psychology was pretty much bullshit by the time Mom and Dad dropped me off at the campus. So I threw myself into the liberal arts, until I took my first science class and realized my mistake. In four years I’d ricocheted into a biology degree and then scored an exceptionally low-paying job in my field by wearing a low-cut dress to the interview. I spent two years torturing about a billion white mice in ways you don’t want to know about for chump change and then I moved across the country just for the hell of it and eked out rent and beer money doing Art. Which means I was like any other kid coming to Portland, Oregon today, except that back then we could afford rent.
By this time I discovered that a surprising number of my college classmates, who by all appearances were carefree hippies like myself with majors such as Comparative Religious Holograms and Medieval Basketry, had quietly gone off to get law degrees and were pulling down six figures and didn’t have furniture made out of cinderblocks and planks. This troubled me for a while until I satisfied myself they were miserable, and by then I was taking my first steps toward my dream job. I became a drunken mailman for fifteen years. After that I was merely a moderately lit-up mailman for another sixteen years. And all of it was in service to the great plan, and culminated in the job I’d been meaning to have my whole life: retired mailman who enjoys a good beer or two.
That pretty much covers the picture. There was probably other stuff in there, but I don’t remember it. For instance, I don’t know precisely when my eyebrows went away. I’m as curious about that as anyone.
But that’s just hair under the bridge. Now I’m old enough to have perspective instead of eyebrows. There’s no shortcut to perspective: it takes time. Perspective is what allows you to be happy maintaining a weight that horrified you when you first approached it from the other direction. Thanks! You all look great too.
And with perspective and seasoning, I get to be a writer after all, so it all worked out. Plus I never had to be a whore about it. I’m the pure kind of writer. The unpaid kind.
Yes, that means I’m free.