My Algonquin friend and co-author Michael Bastine and I have a mutual friend whom I have known since childhood. Both of us wish him well and take an interest in his fortunes. I had a chuckle this afternoon remembering a recent conversation.
Mike seems to see this fellow more than I do, and at one of our recent meetings I asked how the guy was doing. “Always crying the blues,” said Michael. “Says he has no money, doesn’t do too much about it.”
I was sorry to hear that, but it has been my experience, too. The fellow hasn’t worked a regular job in quite a while and isn’t figuring out how to make anything go. I do not fault anyone for that. This old economic system is not an easy one for everyone to figure out. If you don’t have a marketable skill and have been out of the market for just long enough, it can be tough getting any traction. You might have to come up with a new plan. You might have to be your own boss.
I remember that the last time I talked with the man in question, I tried to buck him up. I put myself in his shoes and wondered what I’d do. I suggested that he start out with yard work. East Aurora has a lot of opportunity for someone who would mow lawns, rake leaves, or plow driveways. Yard work could be a good business. I remember offering him my lawn to start with. If he did all right, I would recommend him to others.
"Ahh," he said with a bit of distaste. “I'm not much of a one for chores.”
I remember being so mystified by his attitude that I recounted the episode to Michael when the fellow’s name came up again. “There’s a good little gig there,” I said. “No boss but yourself, not a lot of equipment... Hell, I’d do that if I didn’t have anything else going on. There’d be some trial and error figuring out the pricing and the promotion. But once you did, you’d be coasting. You could do lawns in the summer, leaves in the fall, and driveways in the winter.”
Mike gave me that impish grin I’ve come to know so well. “That’s starting to sound a little too much like work to me.”