“I need to work. It’s the one time my thoughts will cooperate with me.”
― Dan Groat, Monarchs and Mendicants
As a teenager whenever I misbehaved, which was quite often, I would get hands on my throat, or a belt or metal ruler across my butt and legs from my dad. There were times I left the scene of a lashing with swollen, bloody legs. And there were times when I thought my dad wanted to kill me.
To escape the turmoil of life in a dysfunctional home, I fell in love with work.
I worked throughout my childhood from age 12 and up, even though it was still illegal to hire kids under 16 at the time in Texas.
I worked at baseball concession stands as a cook and cashier, McDonalds, Subway, the grocery store as a shelf stocker, and at Lexon Medical as a file clerk.
I routinely received employee of the month awards, and felt that I was a good, honest, hard worker, always looking for opportunities to make others’ jobs easier by going the extra mile.
Work was and still is a form of therapy for me.
Though work may not be an economic necessity, work, and the inner vitality and value that comes with it, is and always has been a spiritual necessity.
I love work.
That said, I felt school work was mostly trite and trivial. I graduated high school in the bottom 3% of my class with the equivalent of a D-average. I just didn’t care. I spent most of my days in class daydreaming of being elsewhere, as I was for the majority of my school experiences, a small boy who seemed to attract bullies and fights for whatever reason.
Some of the bullies I still remember by name would come up to me and punch me in the face for no reason at all, other than to prove that I wouldn’t fight back.
Others would spit on me, or pick me up and run me into a wall or try to shove me into a locker, or trip me or push me to the ground.
I did occasionally deserve the licking I got, as I had a quick wit and a sharp tongue. But my insults against others were typically minimal, as they led to fights I’d almost always lose on account of my small size.
That was, until I was introduced to boxing.
And then my love for work was channeled into a whole new path.
But that's a story for another day.