Tuesday, April 1, 2014

No foolin': retired at age 15

A headline about a Silicon Valley prodigy? Hardly.

Rather, it's a lead-in to brief story of a newspaper route, a certificate - and my first retirement.

Yup, that's mine. An oh-fish-all certificate that you need to see firsthand to fully appreciate. Its quality and heft confirms the honorable discharge of my duties as a carrier for The Cleveland Press.

It's the sort of item you find while sorting through boxes and drawers and memories while cleaning out your childhood home. And although part of you says, "Oh, this is silly," and you really should place it in the recycling pile, you instead add it to the "I'll make a decision on this later" box. A few years pass, another round of examination and purging, and suddenly an old piece of paper transforms into something different.

It was an impressive expression of a once venerable operation. Someone made the decision that it was good business practice to produce and present an acknowledgement like this. Alas, no series of good business decisions could save the publication. The victim of changing public preference for a morning newspaper and competition with evening television news, The Press ceased operation and "retired" in 1982. 

All of us "retire" many times in our lives: from courses of study, from personal relationships, from one city or house or apartment, from episodes of "How I Met Your Mother" and of course from one job or another. It took an even dozen jobs (paper carrier for two dailies, library page, dishwasher, retail clerk, machinist, playground supervisor, house painter, bartender, teacher, editor, advertising sales) before I was given memorable occupational advice:

"This probably won't be the last job you have. Work hard, learn as much as you can, and get ready to use what you learn in your next job."

I'll save other goodies for the upcoming ebook:

Everything I Needed to Know About Life I Learned on My Paper Route.     

So place your pre-order today, and I'll send you a certificate.

April Fools.