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Success at last
A great achievement
We interrupt this dog-days dearth of entertaining and edifying DW Shumway Substack posts to bring you breaking news:
Apparently I was chosen Acme Temp Agency’s July Employee of the Month. At least that’s what Bill, one of my bosses at Perky Pelican Pond Services told me the other morning as he walked out to the barn to help me get the trailer loaded. I still think he might be pulling my leg. Nobody but Bill has congratulated me on this honor, and I have yet to hear from Acme about this. Nobody from the agency has called, asking for my photograph, offered a free t-shirt or said anything. However Bill did say they asked him for a blurb about me. And his wife Melissa came out the next morning and when I joked about it she said to Bill, “You didn’t tell him, did you? It was supposed to be a surprise!” So I think this honor is for real.
This is quite comical because I’m hardly even a worker for Acme. In my case, Pelican Ponds only uses Acme so I can be on workers comp, and to let them handle paperwork and
steal collect withholding. They get other part-time workers through Acme, but I was already working with Pelican before. I think I’ve only done one job with Acme outside of my regular pond work with the Perky Pelican. That was a power-sanding job in the rain where wet sawdust about a quarter inch thick stuck to my hair, face and N-19 mask (Now why did I leave Japan, land of squirting, heated-seat toilets, exactly?).
Acme knows nothing about my toil in sawdust-choked environments, or my prowess at throwing a pond rake, so I think the fact that I’m nice to the secretaries at the Acme office, and I fill out my pay sheet in legible print are what got me the honor. In any case I’m going to use this nugget on my resume when I apply for the propane delivery job this winter, after I get my CDL of course.*
Once my brother Tom was rummaging through some boxes of junk when he and his wife Deborah were trying to do some housecleaning. He found an old writing assignment I’d done in 2nd grade that my dad had kept, then mistakenly given to Tom not me. We had taken a spring-break trip to Florida with our grandparents and I was supposed to keep a journal of all the stuff we did. I wrote about the huge buildings at the Kennedy Space Center (this was the last of the ten years that the area was called Cape Kennedy, just before Florida changed it back to Canaveral). I wrote about the monorail that went through the hotel lobby at Disney World; finding sand dollars on the beach; watching grandpa take out his dentures at our St. Petersburg motel; listening to my grandma, who hogged the conversation at a breakfast diner; etc. But the best part of the trip wasn’t even in Florida. Between the three legs from Seattle to Tampa there was a snowy night in a cheap Pittsburgh roadside motel after an hour of driving through a blizzard, searching for lodging near the airport. I was enthralled with the the worry and confusion of the adults at this late hour, and the snow in April, especially since this was a Florida trip and all I’d been thinking about was beaches, pools and Disney World. Our room had a Magic Fingers massage bed that we enjoyed for hours because the coin-op thing was busted. All that was great fun for a 7-year old!
One night at a family dinner Tom got that journal out and read a few excerpts to everyone. Deborah, a long-time elementary school teacher and counselor/psychologist, was impressed by the level of writing and shook her head in half- mock wonder. “That’s from 2nd grade?!”
“Yep, he was seven-years old on that trip,” said my dad.
She nodded at me and said, “And now look- talk about underachievement!”
All good humor has to have at least a hint of truth to it and everyone, including this writer, burst out laughing.
Well, I intend to announce my achievement at Acme when I visit the family next week in Seattle. We’ll see who has the last laugh, sister in law!
*Actually I probably won’t apply for the propane job. It’s just a fallback in case all three of my Big Projects fail.
The Discovery School
Golden Triangle Tours
Bitterroot Beacon Radio
(Pastor John says he used to think it was unwise to announce your intentions before you’ve got them up and running, as the devil could stymy them. But more recently he’s of the opinion, “Why not announce your plans? What can the devil foul up that God is in favor of?” He’s a big fan of all three of these projects and I think his enthusiasm and support is going to be key to one or all of them coming to fruition. In any case I might indeed need that commercial driver’s license (CDL) for projects 1 and 2.)