December 10, 2009

Tales of a 40 Year Old Nothing

Judy Blume will forgive me for riffing offer her book, at least I hope so. Really, she should, it is not like I am calling myself Fudge, talking to Margaret about God or anything like that.

Of course if she doesn't forgive me I hope that she makes a federal case of it and it ends up in the news. Famous author sues blogger. That should lead to a ton of traffic and maybe a book deal or two for me. If nothing else it might take some of the heat off of Tiger. That should be worth a couple of bucks.

Hmm..I wonder if he would be willing to pay me for starting a major scandal so that his name would come off the wires for a bit. Let's give it a shot, "I, Jack admit that I had an affair with Tiger Woods. It was a brief, yet torrid love affair. Every year we'd meet in the mountains where we would do some fishing and or cattle herding.

All I can say is that Tiger disproved the old idiom of "once you go Jack you never go back" and I hate him for that. Damn, damn, damn. I didn't even get a free Buick out of it.


I have 176 balls in the air and am wondering how much longer I can continue to juggle them all. I flit between being amazed and or impressed with myself for this.It is really a prime example of feast or famine. For a while business was exceptionally slow and now it is the opposite.

So I am doing what all smart business people do and trying to make hay while the sun shines. But a part of me is screaming why can't we spread this out a bit. I have broad shoulders and I can take on a lot, but damn, it would be so much easier if it didn't come all at once.


My son and I have had many discussions about what it is like to be a grown up, what I was like when I was a boy and whether life was different. I tell him that aside from wrestling with dinosaurs it wasn't too much different. But the reality is that there are some big distinctions. My father had one job, worked for them for close to 40 years.

I was at my first job for a year. I hated it. It was a great learning experience and I am glad that I went through it, but at the time it was rough. I'll never forget the feeling I had the day I left.

Failure. I had failed. I looked at my dad and wondered how I could have screwed up so quickly. It was my choice to leave and I moved on to something better suited for me, but it ate away at me for a while.

The beauty of life experience is that as you go through life you begin to gain an understanding that change is not always bad and that sometimes it is worth embracing.  That has been a process for me, a real evolution. I am not a huge fan of change, but I am getting better.

Later on my son asks me to list how many jobs I have had and I realize that I really have become a jack of all trades. I have worked in a number of different fields- manufacturing, advertising, construction, journalism, Internet and a few others.

They have afforded the opportunity to take on numerous roles including technical writing, project management, business development, sales, marketing and more.

As I run through the list he wants to know everything about all of these jobs. He says that he might want try them all so it could be helpful if I teach him how to do them. I laugh and hug him. He wants to know why and I tell him that he has plenty of time to figure out what he wants to do.

But he is nervous and tells me that he is not completely sure. I smile and tell him that I am not completely sure what I want to do either. I add that the beauty of having done these things is that I gained a lot of valuable skills and experience and that I know what I do NOT want to do.

Truth is that I have a pretty good idea about what I want to do and am working on it even as I write this post. But the rules of the blog state that I leave it all hanging out which means that I admit that sometimes I feel like that 40 year-old nothing in the title.

I look around and wonder what I have done with my life. Am I really this guy I see in the mirror. He can't be me. I have more hair. My abs are ripped and I am tan.This guy doesn't really look like that. He has a lot of things that the 19 year old I visualize myself as expected, but then again...

Truth is that I don't entirely remember what I thought life would be like now. I know that I never expected it to be as crazy as it has been. I just know that I thought that by this point I'd have it all figured out. Sometimes that grates upon me. Sometimes it irks me to no end.

But I mentioned earlier that I have been working on embracing change and that is true. I have a plan. There is a destination in mind, goals and objectives to be met. The hardest part of it all is that I haven't quite figured out how to get there, but I will. I always do.

The good news my son tells me is that he has decided to start his own business and that I am going to get to work for him. I smile and ask him if he is sure that he wants me to work for him. He looks indignant, "you're my dad, of course you will. You're going to be my best worker."

I smile at him and he tells me that there is only one problem. "Dad, I am almost 9 so you are going to have to keep working for a few more years, like maybe 30. Don't die because I really want you to work for me."

Kind of reminds me of Bill Murray's character in Caddyshack ,

So I jump ship in Hong Kong and make my way over to Tibet, and I get on as a looper at a course over in the Himalayas. A looper, you know, a caddy, a looper, a jock.

So, I tell them I'm a pro jock, and who do you think they give me? The Dalai Lama, himself. Twelfth son of the Lama. The flowing robes, the grace, bald... striking.

So, I'm on the first tee with him. I give him the driver. He hauls off and whacks one - big hitter, the Lama - long, into a ten-thousand foot crevasse, right at the base of this glacier. Do you know what the Lama says?

Gunga galunga... gunga, gunga-galunga.

So we finish the 18th and he's gonna stiff me. And I say, "Hey, Lama, hey, how about a little something, you know, for the effort, you know."

And he says, "Oh, uh, there won't be any money, but when you die, on your deathbed, you will receive total consciousness." So I got that goin' for me, which is nice."


bernthis said...

oh God, do I get where you are at, b/c I've been there for so many years. Very good post

Jack said...

It is the joy of life, this uncertainty. Sometimes I am positive that I know everything and then there are those moments where I wonder....

Daddy Files said...

I think what you're really trying to say is:

"What an incredible Cinderella story, this unknown comes outta nowhere to lead the pack...It's in the hole!"

Heather Kephart said...

What a delightful post, Jack! Thanks for commenting on my blog. I'm going to be checking in on you and your deep Caddyshackian thoughts regularly now. :)

Jack said...


It is a classic. I use movies like that to judge taste. It is proof that even though you have terrible taste in basketball teams you are a scholar of fine movies. ;)

P.S. Love that "It is in the hole!" Works for almost everything.

Hi Heather,

We specialize in deep thoughts about the really important things like movies and food. Thanks for coming by, look forward to seeing you again.

toywithme said...

So glad we don't work in the days of having the same job for 40 some odd years anymore. Change is nice. New opportunities and new people.

Otter Thomas said...

I like several other of your commentors missed out on any real meaning and just clung to Caddyshack. That choice of movies and scenes has garnered you a true fan. You can't be bad if your randomly quote Caddyshack. It is one of the irrefutable laws of the universe.

Jack said...

So glad we don't work in the days of having the same job for 40 some odd years anymore. Change is nice. New opportunities and new people.

Most of the time I feel the same way. But every now and then I think that it would be nice to know what and where I am going to be for a while.


I am with you. I ignore most things and quote movies, the wife loves it. ;)

Thanks for coming by, I am looking forward to checking out your blog.