Time Machine

How Long?

Stormy

That Was Then

ESSAY

FICTION

TRAVEL

ARTS

GALLERY

 

ESSAY

 

 

 

That Was Then


Remember when people worked for the same company for years and years until they were ready to retire? Well then you must be a baby boomer for sure because that doesn’t happen much anymore. Millennials change jobs the way some people change cars…at least once every three years.

 

A recent poll by Associated Press-Center for Public Affairs Research showed that among workers over 50, 41 percent had spent two decades with the same company. Eighteen percent stayed with the same employer for at least 30 years. That last group includes me. This year will mark the 30th anniversary of working for the same company and with the same business partner, and no one is more surprised about this than me.

 

At the beginning of my working life it seemed like I was destined to move from one career to the next, trying my hand at different tasks to see what appealed to me. It didn’t take very long to figure out what I wanted to do based on what I thought my strongest talents were. Likewise, I didn’t expect to team up with a business partner whose skills and ethos integrated so well with mine.

 

Hitting the 30 year mark seems like a good time to look back and wonder if we missed anything by not exploring more employers and careers as so many workers do now. I doubt that I would have been comfortable with the stress of swinging on the jungle vines, leaping from one job to the next and trying to fit into a new work culture every few years. We tend to think that would have been hard to pull off, but would it have been any less stressful than managing to keep our small business going through good times and very tough times? The range of different experiences might have been very appealing as well but so was the ability to create a career with so much longevity.

 

Worklife has changed so much in our lifetimes that it’s hard to predict the trends for coming years. Global strategies, outsourcing, the end of pensions and the overall coarsening of the employer-employee relationship all have contributed to a general sense of workplace instability. There’s not much loyalty to go around when workers think their employers care more about their stock price or their image than their employees, and employers believe their workers are not as productive as they should be.

 

It would appear that we were lucky (most of the time) to find a career that’s still going strong with the came company. Future generations of workers may marvel at that feat.

 

Jay Harrison is a graphic designer and writer whose work can be seen at DesignConcept. He's written a mystery novel, which therefore makes him a pre-published author.

 

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FICTION

 

 

 

Time Machine

 

For all outward appearances the TMI looks like a sophisticated virtual reality machine. You wear this clunky looking goggle-like apparatus with a wire coming off of it. Then there are the earphones to enhance the audio experience. Maybe some day it can be surgically placed right on top of our retinas, but that’s way off in the future. The one piece of technology that makes the Time Machine Input completely different from VR is the cord that goes right into the brain’s cortex to the neurons that control our sense of time.

 

If you have visions of Hot Tub Time Machine (or Hot Tub Time Machine 2 or 3), let me assure you that the TMI does not take you back in time. It’s not going to fulfill some juvenile fantasy of going back in time to be cooler than you were in high school or to erase all those embarrassing moments that all of us would like to delete from our memory bank. The TMI extends time, stretching the boundaries of time and space in a way that just a few years ago we thought would be impossible.

 

We hear people say all the time, “if only there were more than 24 hours in a day, I could get so much more done.” The amazing TMI technology makes that possible. You need more than one hour to get yourself going in the morning? TMI can add as much as 15 minutes to the basic 1 hour block of time. Repeat that setting for a full 24 hours and you pick up a net gain of 6 hours. Over a week that adds up to 42 hours, or almost 2 full extra days in your week. But that’s not all. You could gain 104 days in a year, and over a lifetime, are you ready for this, you could gain 260 months or an extra 21 years.

 

Personally, I’m not interested in extending my lifespan by 20 or more years. My goals are much more modest. I just want that extra 15 minutes when the clock is running down and I need that boost. Let me spend 15 more minutes with the one I love, or sleep for 15 more minutes in the morning, or take 15 minutes our of my day to do nothing more than contemplate my navel.

 

The choice is yours with the TMI. You decide how and when you want more time. Just remember, batteries are not included.


Jay Harrison is a graphic designer and writer whose work can be seen at DesignConcept. He's written a mystery novel, which therefore makes him a pre-published author.

 

 

 

 

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TRAVEL

 

 

Storm Warning

 

When I moved from southern California to Tornado Alley in 2000, the prospect of tornadoes chilled me to the bone. I was assured time and again, however, that Stillwater usually escapes these annual monsters because it lies in a slight bowl, topographically; most storms split up about five miles west of town and then reform a few miles to the east. Once in while our tornado sirens come on, usually because a tornado has touched down somewhere in Payne County, which covers about 697 square miles. I’ve never seen a tornado, but I’ve learned to have a healthy respect for them while not allowing myself to fall into a fit of fear and panic when the sirens blow.

 

This evening, sometime around 6:00, I fixed myself a taco salad and sat down to enjoy it. The sirens came on, which surprised me because I didn’t know we’d been in a tornado watch all afternoon. Because the light outside was bright and clear—not the eerie yellow-green that accompanies a potentially dangerous storm—I carried on with my dinner while checking my usual weather sites and radar maps. The storm was north of town and blowing slowly eastward. No reason to herd the cats into the closet and get ourselves into the interior bathroom. At last, though, I gave in and went outside to have a look. Sure enough, a monstrous wall cloud was slowly passing north of us. This was a big one, and I finally saw what makes a tornado. It’s an odd feeling watching these things pass by. I noticed this while watching my first wall cloud move across the sky in 2001. It’s like watching a lazy dragon fly by, daring not to breathe in case it notices you and changes its course.

 

Fortunately, it passed by us without touching down, and after about 45 minutes of sirens and public announcements, we were given the All Clear.

 

I’m actually rather proud of myself. This was the first tornado warning I’ve been through that didn’t send me into terror. Not bad considering it was the worst one I’ve experienced. Once everything was okay I went into the kitchen and baked several dozen chocolate chip cookies. Ah, life at Bookends Cottage.

 

Be safe!


Steph Waller is an author and composer. Books One and Two (With A Dream and With A Bullet) of her rock and roll series, Beyond The Bridge,  takes places in late 70s London. Read more at Bucksnort Chronicles and SKWaller.com.

 

 

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ARTS

 

 

How Long Have I Had This

 

I can’t miss seeing Richard’s jaw drop, because he is inches from my face.

 

Richard still stands too close for a conversation, yet this time I don’t allow myself to step back. He fumbles for the right question…how long have I had this…10 or 15 years? I know he is searching his memory for anything about me during the time he was my boss which would make sense of this thunderbolt.

 

“I’m doing comedy now.”

 

Since I was a child, that’s how long. I’ve read that humor is a choice which some children make as a strategy for coping with stress. Yes, maybe that’s it.  I suddenly lost my parents and was separated from my brother at the age of four. Would I still be funny if that had not happened? Would reading George Carlin’s essay “Play Ball!” still make me laugh until tears roll down my face?

 

I recall so clearly standing alone in my aunt’s back yard, deciding that I would like to be a monkey. Could it be that the question “What would you like to be when you grow up” allowed for switching species?  It sounded good because monkeys could swing through trees, yet even more appealingly, people enjoyed laughing at them. There, zoom in on that. That’s when I knew I wanted to entertain.

No one had mentioned that comedy was a career path, and you certainly didn’t tell people you wanted to be a monkey. I found that saying interior decorator didn’t generate many questions, plus it enabled adults to pleasantly resume minding their own business.

 

The monkey idea lay dormant for 50 years while I finished school and college (which offered no interior design classes), worked as not a comedian, married a wonderful man, and produced a couple of alarmingly normal kids.

 

It came up just once, in an interview for a state government position. I asked what I would have to do to prevent myself from advancing through steps to professional certification. The gentleman looked at me for a moment, almost as if I were from a different species, and dryly answered “Swing from the rafters.”

 

I never did. I’ve been saving up.

 

…and Richard. You’re still doing that other thing.  I know you’re surprised that I still look good, but for God’s sake, keep your eyes on a woman’s face when you compliment her appearance!

Kathy Brennan has organized information for a living as an educator, computer programmer and government policy writer. Now she is doing it for fun as a stand up comic and humorous writer. See more at http://mrskathybrennan.com/.

 

 

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GALLERY

 

 

 

 

 

10 - 10<>

Robin Jeffries is semi retired over 50 guy from Queensland, Australia who loves cruising, diving, travel beautiful scenery, serenity, adventure, using his imagination & following his dreams. View more of his photos on flickr or at his website, Cruising the Edge.

 

 

 

 

Links of Interest to Boomers Going Like Sixty Baby Boomer Daily Curmudgeon    Viva Veracruz The Bucksnort Chronicles