Niagara Gazette — With the possible exception of Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning and his ability to parallel-park a camera-assisted Buick (that’s him in those television commercials), I am not someone with a lot of envy in him. It bothers me sometimes that, at age 37 and the grand old man of football, Manning could be my son, but that’s another story, with no envy in it.
You may not grow wise as you grow old, but like it or not, you gain perspective, and despite being parked on Buffalo’s northern border all my life, instead of wandering the world looking for SMERSH agents or something, I’ve somehow obtained my share.
I watch the generation or two younger than I, in search of opportunity, and smile blessedly. They think they’re worthy of opportunity, first of all, and will exhaust many methods of obtaining it. (Somehow I feel like much of my formal schooling was dedicated to simply making me employable on Buffalo’s northern border. Never being one to allow school to interfere with my education, I’m convinced you gotta fight for your right to learn things.)
Having a full-time job was something of a status symbol where I came from. Show up on time, do the work, walk away, come back tomorrow. Steady, predictable stuff. I didn’t starve, but rarely heard the knock of any opportunity.
The employed and semi-employed with whom I consort these days do not live like that. Three part-time projects are preferable to one retirement-track job, as well as more interesting, less by-the-book and more likely to provide a “big break,” as they say. They tend not to be able to tell success from failure, triumph from disaster and “tend to treat those two imposters just the same,” as Kipling wrote.