Money for Nothin' (That Ain't Workin')

“Man, you work hard!” my neighbor yelled out as he passed by.

Immediately, two thoughts struck me. First: wow, what a compliment. Second: wow, what an idiot.

OK, maybe idiot is too strong, but come on, man. You know me! I don’t know what I was doing at the time – maybe pulling nails from a board or something, but working hard, I was not. I do not do. 

Not ever.

I made a career out of doing radio. Maybe, had it been talk radio, where you should at least know what you’re talking about, you could accuse me of ‘working’. But I spent my time at music stations. Play a few tunes, say something stupid, play a few more songs, repeat.

Here’s how hard it was: when I started in radio, we played records. Records became CDs, CDs became digital bytes. By the time I finished my career, music was simply a computer file. Touch it with your finger and it would play. Further, when it finished playing, it automatically triggered the next file (song) to play. It was - and still is - a process that would continue running itself until it was time for me to interrupt the flow and say something stupid again. I got paid for that.

That job required getting up early in the morning, but hard work? Hard-ly.

If you want a hard worker, I’ll introduce you to my workaholic wife.  She will not sit still and constantly has projects going. Drive me nuts.

Before her retirement, she oversaw the Georgia 4-H program in which thousands of kids gather at camps and do things that kids do.  Some of it is stupid, some of it inappropriate, but mostly, it’s just kids being kids, trying to have fun and learning the ropes.

But times being what they are, nowadays, when kids go off course, parents must be notified, counselors and administrators work overtime, and in some cases, cops must be called. Societal changes dictate that. 

She also was in charge of staffing county extension (county agent) offices during a period when state legislators were slashing budgets. She dealt with deep budget cuts. That meant deciding which counties would have agents, which could go without, and which could share agents. Egos were being bruised.

I won’t forget the evening a legislator approached her, asking when his county would be getting a new agent.

“You keep cutting my budget,” she said. “I don’t have enough money.”

“You’ll have even less if I don’t get a county agent soon,” was his response.

Feel free to take a moment, and consider that logic.

That stuff kept her up at night. Even as we both have retired, remembering that stuff is the reason I still roll over in bed and put an arm around her. Sometimes I toss a leg over her, too. Then, a kiss on the neck. Then, she throws me out of bed, thinkin’ I wanna be starting something, got to be starting something…

That I give up so easily means I won’t even work hard for that.

I think, though, I’m going to hold on to this. This one time someone accused me of working hard. In fact, I’m going to own it. When the day finally comes that I stand before my Maker, and he asks how I would define my life, I’m going to say, “I worked hard.”

Then, I’m going to hope he has a pretty good sense of humor.

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