Whenever we were getting a little out of hand when we were kids, Mom would threaten us by saying "If I have to get up off of this chair…" And that would stop us. Now that I think about it, we should have, at least once, made her get up off the chair. I mean, what was she going to do? I asked her that not long before she passed away, and she said she didn’t know. I think it would have been worth whatever thrashing we got just to find out what she had in store for us.
Mom also had an expression, "J-O-B does not spell F-U-N." I mean, duh! I think she was trying to emphasize the fact that work wasn’t fun. Which, face it, it’s not exactly a bouncy castle (except in businesses that make, sell, or rent out bouncy castles) even in its best moments. And it’s true that some jobs are drudgery, no fun at all, supervised by the captain in Cool Hand Luke, where you can’t even get up to go to the bathroom except at break or lunch… you get the idea.
But, here’s the thing: sometimes you have to bring your own bouncy castle. The job’s not going to change, so you have to. Mom taught in the Chicago Public Schools for 37 years, and to listen to her she hated every minute of it. The fact was, though, she didn’t hate it. There was a reason she stayed. She liked teaching kids to read. It was a challenge for her. She was good at it. She was paid well enough to build a healthy nest egg for herself, buy a house in the suburbs where her sons could go to good schools and where she could go after school and get away from her nutty principal, the dictates of her school board, the union that insisted on dragging her out on strike every year. That was her bouncy castle. I lost count of the number of times I asked her why she didn’t get out of the teaching business and get a job where they treated her like an adult and probably would have been paid better, but she didn’t want to. She didn’t want to trade her bouncy castle for another one.
Do you know what your bouncy castle is?
Linda runs Stream of Consciousness Saturday every week. Now a word from Stopette spray deodorant. Poof! There goes perspiration!
I know I’ve used Stopette commercials before, but this was just too good to resist.