19 October 2004

Kids & role models

Now, I don't have kids for a variety of reasons. First and foremost, I never thought I would have been a good dad. I was a wild man when I was younger and my job in the military was a dangerous one. I didn't expect to live long enough. When I met the Mrs, she was on a career track and she did not want to derail that by having children. Fine. Now, in our mid-forties, we're still having too much fun and we're set in our lifestyle. The dog does nicely.

Harry and the Indian don't have kids either. Dead Ed has a daughter. My point is that I've been thinking that my premise of not being a good role model was wrong. You see, we've always had a kid working at the shop up until Ed came to work there. Teenagers who we knew and who wanted to make a few extra bucks.

There have been five or six over the years and I've been thinking about how they turned out after Harry, Indian, and I have had such a big influence on their lives. Let's say that we're not the parenting type. All of those kids got an education working for us, and not one you could get in school. By the time they were 15, they could curse like sailors, had their first taste of beer, ditto on reefer, had been sexually harassed constantly, treated like niggas, and got every shit job in the shop. I was thinking about that and figured we could probably all be arrested for corrupting minors. And then I looked at where they are today.

Of the six I can remember off the top of my head:

  • One is a principal in a local school district.

  • Another has his own tree service/landscaping business in New Hampshire.

  • One is just entering the management ranks at the Long Island Rail Road.

  • One owns his own boat repair shop not far from our shop.

  • One owns his own auto repair shop in a town close by.

  • And one just made his first million as a software designer.

  • While they learned a bunch of vices from us, they also learned about honor, integrity, how to treat a woman with respect, and the value of a good education. They all stay in touch and they all agree that their experience working with the 'crazy old guys' taught them more about how the world works than anything they learned in school. All are successful. While to look at us, you wouldn't think of us as role models, but guess what, we are and we're good at it. I might not have kids of my own, but I'm proud of the things I've imparted to these young men. We might not have done it in the most PC way, but we helped shape a group of young men to become the next generation of community leaders.

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