The Guilty Party

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Angels and Day Jobs





Sometimes it seems the best inspirations, the best pick-me-ups come from the unlikeliest sources.

I hope I have made it clear that I do like my current day job. Good company, great coworkers, lots of nice customers and it's a pretty good workout all at the same time. No six figure salary, but the way things are in the world lately it is good to have a job and it is triply good to be able to enjoy what you do. Only problem, of course, with any day job is that it takes time. Time that could be spent writing. Or reading. Or taking the dogs for a walk. Or volunteering at the library. Or learning how to play jazz guitar. Or auditioning for local theater productions. I have no end of stuff to occupy me if and when I get to retire from day jobs. Can't do a lot of what I want to do because the day job has a hold on quite a chunk of time every week.

But, without the day job there are so many things I would miss, so many people I wouldn't meet and so many challenges I wouldn't have to tackle (tackling challenges is, in my opinion, a really good thing for us all).

And without the day job I wouldn't have my pocket angel (see pic above). A few weeks ago, on a day that could have been going better in just about every regard as far as I could see, I had the carryout pager. We sell lots of things that are big and bulky and heavy and awkward and so oftentimes we need to assist our customers in loading up their purchases in their vehicles. When my pager buzzed late that afternoon I went to the stockroom, retrieved a large cart full of shelving product and wheeled it to the curb. When we opened up the back hatch of the customer's minivan I just had to shake my head. The cargo area was already packed, much of the space being occupied by heart shaped balloons. How was I supposed to load all the stuff on the cart into that space?

The lady who, along with her husband, was purchasing the shelving system saw my reaction and laughed. At first I wasn't sure how to interpret her laugh but when I saw her face it was clear she wasn't laughing at my problem or even my reaction, she simply recognized what was going through my head and saw the humor. This helped me see the humor too. And approaching it with that frame of mind seemed to help me figure out a way to make everything fit.

I should mention that the lady was confined to a wheelchair.

After everything was loaded up her husband parked the minivan and they both came back in the store. Hadn't finished looking around, and she liked the place and people so much she actually said "I just don't want to leave yet." I had to return the cart to the stockroom but when I came back on the sales floor she beckoned me over and gave me a pocket angel. "So you will always know that God loves you and is there to help you solve Life's problems."

Now I am not a particularly religious man, I am not without faith, it's just not attached to any certain denomination. But I am a big movie and music fan, and her gift of the pocket angel for some reason brought to mind the song "Pocketful of Miracles", from the Frank Capra movie of the same name. I mentioned it and it turned out that movie is one of her all-time favorites. We had a nice conversation that started with Capra movies (her fave is "Pocketful of Miracles" mine is "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington") that led into other subjects and by the time I had to pull away and get back to work I knew for a fact that if this woman in a wheelchair could be such a by golly genuine ray of sunshine I had no business to be a Grumpy Gus.

I've carried my pocket angel every day since then. I should have asked her where she got the ones she handed out. I'd like to hand some out myself.

Go Ye Forth and Do Likewise.

P.S. The background for the photo is the upper right corner of my Riverside Shakespeare. That's one of my bookshelf angels.

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A Bit About Me

My photo
I am a writer with a longtime interest in photography. I'm a dad, husband, photographer, and not very good guitarist. My first novel, Boomerang, is available in both paperback and ebook form at Amazon, Barnes and Noble and Smashwords.com. As a matter of fact, my second novel, The Baer Boys, can be found at exactly the same places.