Back when I was a fresh college graduate, and lived in that special, naïve bubble that only fresh college graduates inhabit, I took my shiny Telecommunications – Emphasis in Video Production degree to Los Angeles. I had done well in school, so I would certainly be directing The Tonight Show within the blink of an eye.
I learned a lot in L.A. I saw things that were an eyeful, and then some, for a callow country boy. But the most important thing I learned was that I was unemployable there in my chosen field. Somebody with the authority to say so was kind of enough to tell me that straight out.
Consequently, I began my post-collegiate career making minimum wage in the mall. A few months later, I landed an office temp job. After the mall, it felt like I had made it to the Big Time.
One day, when I still worked at the mall, I pulled my little car into the bank drive-through, no doubt to withdraw my last $10 so I could buy my next supply of peanut butter and bread. My car began throbbing and shaking. Having no money for repairs, I was relieved when it recovered itself. It seemed okay on the way home, allowing me to hope its mysterious ailment could be managed on the cheap.
At home, I turned on the TV and sat on the stack of foam egg crates my roommate and I used as a couch. There was a Special Report on TV about the earthquake the city had just experienced. As I watched footage of smashed pasta sauce jars in a local grocery, I realized what I felt at the bank was an earthquake. I was ecstatic. It wasn’t anything serious, like car trouble; it was only an earthquake.
It was a mild quake by California standards. The “World Series” quake in San Francisco a few weeks later proved that. I felt only minor rumbles during the year it took me to decide to tuck my tail and make the long road trip home.
Now I live where quakes are rare. My Telecommunications – Emphasis in Video Production degree is as useful now as it was then. I’ll never direct The Tonight Show, but that’s okay; I’m where I’m supposed to be. I’ve got three awesome boys, and I get to spend lots of time with them because I’m not cooped up to all hours in production meetings.
And when we have that rare tremor, like we had last Saturday, do I worry about my car? Not at all. After the house thumped and the walls rattled for all of three seconds, I marched into the room where the boys were playing and yelled at them to leave whatever piece of the house they were destroying alone.
We don’t have earthquakes here. Why wouldn’t I yell at them?
P.S. Sorry I blamed you for the earthquake, boys.
Gotta love that typewriter on your plastic table too, huh? How funny it is to look back and realize how very outdated things have become that used to be so normal! I’m really glad you’re right where you’re supposed to be and that you know that. It’s, perhaps, the most important thing you’ll ever do…being there to be the Richter Scale for those daily boy-earthquakes.
I think I still have that typewriter in the basement. But, of course, no ribbon has been made for it in 25 years. Maybe the boys can sell it to an antiques collector one day and get some of the money I didn’t earn directing television. But they’ll probably break it instead. That’s okay, as long as they have fun doing it.
Hahaha I love that old photo! And yep, when we experienced an earthquake a few years ago my first thought was that a jet engine had fallen off a plane and was crashing through the roof of the hospital. Because that makes sense.
Always go for the big, imaginative explanation first. The mundane causes will fill themselves in afterwards.
One time someone was temping for us (young kid still in high school) and we didn’t have an extra computer / keyboard for her. She simply wanted to type some labels, so I told her we had a wonderful electric typewriter would be easy to use. She was like “What’s that?” oh, hahah, very funny. I know ancient but that thing really works well… you should have seen the non-electric version or the ones that didn’t have autocorrect. She repeats herself “No, I’m serious, what’s a typewriter?” I had to take her into our office supply room and show her. “I’ve never seen one of those in my life.” I was like really? Because, although younger kids haven’t ever used a record player, pretty much know what a record player is.. right? My 9 and 11 year old do. Then again, they probably don’t know what a typewriter is either…. that just flabbergasts me.
The typewriter in the picture was cutting edge when I got it. It could store a page and a half of text in memory. Image! A page and a half of digital information. That was akin to sorcery What would they think of next?
You must have felt pretty smart to be sitting in front of such a magnificiant piece of equipment.
Yeah. That’s my smart look in the picture.
Reblogged this on Angie Mc's Reblog Love and commented:
Boys at play are earthquakes waiting to happen ❤
Thanks for reblogging, Angie.
My privilege, Scott.
Ha! That earthquake was awesome. We felt it here and apparently the epicenter was around 30 miles from our house! Pretty exciting stuff in Michigan!
Californians must giggle when they hear people in Michigan use words like epicenter. But it was a real thing. It was on the news and everything.
The first year I moved to Syracuse from Maryland, we had an earthquake around 3 a.m. I was still awake and heard the dishes rattle in the cupboards and wondered what the … Adirondack Mountains, it turns out. They tell you that growing up, Scott?
By the way, I like your stories about LA, life-learning and the boys way better.
I recall one or two tremors from my youth, but I always figured it was Rip Van Winkle playing tenpins in the Catskills.
There you go. Old Rip again, and not Cal playing third base for the Birds.
They were both the iron men of their sports.
You got that right, Scott.
It’s very true, no matter what choices you might regret in life, having kids makes them all seem worthwhile.
Yup. I could have been rich and married a supermodel, but then I’d probably have kids who were duds. Hardly worth being rich.
Yes, greatness and beauty normally skips every other generation. Which is why my kids are so awesome…slightly worried about the grandkids though…
At least you’ll be able to relate to them.
Oh the days of typewriters and card tables set up as dining room furniture.
They were good days, in spite of themselves.