Career Day can be a real eye-closer
I recently was invited to Career Day at Aiea High School, from whence I graduated in 1972 after four years of being in the Downward Bound Program, and, I might add, four years during which I never uttered the word "whence."
I really hate Career Days. Perhaps that's too strong. I mean, I really despise Career Days. First, because I think it's kind of sad to stand someone like me in front of a bunch of impressionable kids as an example of someone who has a career. And secondly because the "career" of professional humor columnist doesn't come with a cool uniform. And every time I've had to address a classroom of high school students at a Career Day I've always had to follow a motorcycle cop, fireman or organized crime hitman ... all of whom had cool uniforms.
Then the big doofus "newspaper person" (they never introduce me as a columnist but as some generic creature somehow associated with the newspaper industry) steps up in his outdated rumpled aloha shirt, high-water slacks and scruffy tennis shoes. (Hey, maybe columnists DO have a uniform!).
I approached Aiea High with familiar jealousy because two HPD motorcycles had been parked illegally in front of the school while I had to park my truck a mile away in the "Please Leave Valuables Where They Can Easily Be Stolen" section of the parking lot.
But I felt better when I entered the classroom and the current speaker was saying -- really -- "How many of you want to look at an actual Form 1040?" I would be following an accountant! And he didn't even have an official accountant's uniform! How great is that?
When it came my turn to speak, some 18 students had crammed into a classroom that could only hold 124 people and I launched into my boiler plate routine about having attended class in THIS VERY CLASSROOM and, man, after 35 years you'd think they'd get some freakin' air conditioning in here. What is this, Bangladesh?
Then I realized the third reason I hate Career Day: Looking at those young, beautiful, eager, glowing faces just makes me feel so very, very old. Suddenly I become the kind of speaker I've hated ever since I was sentenced to high school -- the grizzly Walter Brennan-type old crank saying things like, "Why, when I was your age we didn't have no newfangled gadgets like cellular phones, by cracky!"
Hoping to impart some wisdom on the supple sponge-like brains before me, I used all my powers of oration to convince them to find careers as cops, nurses, firemen, international arms smugglers ... anything, for the love of god, other than "newspaper person."
Then I returned to the parking lot from whence I came, accidentally pushing over a couple of HPD motorcycles on the way.
(Note to the actual students who attended my talk: Many thanks for having me. You may have noticed here that actual column writing has little to do with actual reality. Good luck with your actual careers.)
Buy Charles Memminger's hilarious new book, "Hey, Waiter, There's An Umbrella In My Drink!" at island book stores or online
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