December 15, 2021
Reflections, Day 65, Beer part two.
“You can’t be a real country unless you have a beer and an airline – it helps if you have some kind of football team, or some nuclear weapons, but in the very least you need a beer.”
― Frank Zappa
Ronnie took a sip of his beer, “Well, my sophomore year rolled around and Daddy paid for my tuition, room and board, but he told me again that it was up to me to make my own spending money. I kept on sweeping and cleaning, but that didn’t bring in enough to even start to run with the other boys. I was mixed up.
“You see, my Daddy had told me that all I had to do to make money in life was to ‘be smart and work hard.’ This didn’t quite work out with my experience because I knew I was smart because my grades were really good –and I knew that I worked as hard as anyone in the Durwin Academy. But those other guys must have been really smart because they always had money to spend. I just didn’t understand.
“So I worked on. I asked for more work and they were all happy with my work ethic so they gave me more pay for cutting grass around the dormitory. This got me up to ten dollars a week but that wasn’t enough either. But I saved a little bit every week and tried to be smart about it.
“Then, one day, the dormitory advisor came up to me with a smile and told me that I could be “Dorm Proctor,” and make two more dollars a week. My main job was to go around at night to each room, knock on the door, yell, ‘All in?’ and wait for two voices to answer. I had a clipboard with a form that I checked at each room.
“The proctor’s job gave me a feeling of power. This was a new feeling to me. I learned that sometimes I would have to stretch the truth a bit for some of my friends—and, of course, they all became my ‘friends’ pretty quickly. I still didn’t have enough money to run with the big guys, but I did have a bit of power over them and that gave me some much-needed status. Looking back, I know that there were some moral issues involved, but I didn’t know that concept at the time.
“My sophomore year ended without any trouble and I worked hard and made good grades. I still, though, couldn’t figure out how those dumb-acting guys were so much smarter than I was—they had to be smarter because they had more money.
“My 16th birthday was in August that year and I had me a brand new driver’s license when I went back to the Academy. I didn’t have anything to drive, though, until the teacher in charge called me into his office…
He asked to see my driver’s license and I handed it over proudly. He smiled and said, ‘You are a responsible lad and we have another job for you. We will give you the keys to the school station wagon and you will drive students to town when they need to go to the doctor, get haircuts, or things like that.’
I smiled and said, ‘thank you for the trust you have placed in me, sir. I will endeavor to do a good job.’ That’s what I said out loud. Inside, my mind said, ‘SCORE.” Ronnie lit another Marlboro and said, “Give me one of them beers.”
The end of part two. Tune in tomorrow.
Photo compliments of Bill Cox