Down—but not out

Thirty-Some Years Ago I was out of school and had applied for some entry-level jobs in journalism. But nothing was opening up, and I was down to my last few dollars. So I took a job as a security guard.

It was a week before I got my first paycheck. I remember scooping handfuls of change off the bureau in my rented room with eager anticipation of the one daily meal I could afford—black coffee and a dish of vanilla ice cream. This didn't fortify me much when it came time to take the elevator to the 50th floor of the office building where I worked each night, and to make my way down to the first floor, hitting security checkpoints along the way.

And it didn't help that I'd bought, on sale, a pair of steel-toed work boots. They'd taken a big chunk out of the little money I had. They also took a big chunk out of me. I remember reaching the 25th floor and lying down exhausted on some boxes to rest. Those shoes were so heavy—they felt like deep-sea diving boots.

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April 1, 2002

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