I’d rather be a typist than a – what?

Categorized as 04/05/10 Goshen News column

For months now, a little four-letter word has been in the forefront of the national consciousness. Not to worry. It’s not one that would’ve gotten your mouth washed out with soap as a kid. It did, however, spark two presidential visits. The sight of Marine One coming in over the neighbors’ treetops and landing within actual spittin’ distance of our house isn’t one I will soon forget.

The word, as you might have guessed by now, is j-o-b-s. It’s this little word that’s been keeping plenty of folks up at night, including yours truly.

While some people are up, worrying because they don’t have one, I’m up precisely because I do. It was when my turn-around times went from “doable with the occasional impossible” to “pretty much impossible” that the “j” word took over all remaining space in my head.

As you know, I’m a working-from-home medical transcriptionist. Through the magic of technology, I work for a boss I’ve never met, listening daily to physicians I’ve never seen. Blindfold me and stick me in their offices, however, and I’d know my docs by their voices.

This is what I’ve done for over six years. But that’s not the only job I’ve had.

My first day as a freshman at Pilgrim Christian High School in Hutchinson, Kansas, marked my first night of work at the Dutch Kitchen restaurant. All through high school and beyond, I washed dishes and waitressed at the local watering hole.

Thinking I might want to be a nurse when I grew up, I signed on as a volunteer at Hutch Hospital. For several years, I spent one night a week in my candy striper uniform. There, I delivered flowers and dinner, refilled bedside water pitchers, and fed those who needed help.

While I never did grow up to be a nurse, I did go on to try a few other things. Those “other things” included cutting fabric and stocking the notions wall at So-Fro Fabrics. I cleaned houses. I moved to Indiana and taught school for a year before marrying Mr. Schrock.

After the wedding, I did a short stint at a bakery where I quickly discovered that I was definitely not a nocturnal animal. That was when I switched to babysitting for a local optometrist’s children.
Needing more hours, I landed a temporary job with the Elkhart County Health Department. This became a permanent position.

Then the babies started coming, and I was the one that needed child care. That’s when the large blank spot on my official resume began, all of which brings me to my present-day situation. Now, I am again discovering that on the List of Nocturnal Animals in the Encyclopedia Britannica, my name is glaringly absent.

In my sleep-deprived fog, I’ve tried to cheer myself up any number of ways. Coffee helps – marginally. My favorite mochas (with real whipped cream, by gum) are now required and should, I believe, be covered by insurance for their mood-lifting properties. But that’s a subject for another day and a fresh, energetic health care initiative, the “energy” and “initiative” for which I am freshly out of.

I’ve tried happy talk. “Look,” I might say. “At least you’re not a banana gasser.”

Well, that’s true. I’m certainly no banana gasser. In fact, I didn’t know until recently that my bananas even needed gassing. But they do, and so do yours.

That’s because when the bananas are picked and sent up from the tropics, they’re still green. Someone somewhere has to put them in a hermetically-sealed gas chamber where they undergo an expedited ripening process. By the time they appear in the produce department at your grocery store, they’re the lovely shade of yellow to which we’re all accustomed.

Bottom line? I’d rather type than be a gasser. I wouldn’t mind having one of those sealed chambers for certain members of my family, though. I’m just sayin’.

“Tired of typing?” I’ll ask myself. “Be glad you’re not a fortune cookie writer.”

Am I ever glad. After all, how many different ways can you write, “Good luck is coming your way?” Or, “Beware a stranger in a dark suit.” Or, “You will soon embark on a long and dangerous voyage from which you will not return.”

See? I can only come up with about three, and then I’m kaput.

Nope. There’s no future for me in that business.

When I’m really down, I try this one, “Well, at least I’m not a rodeo clown.”

I’d never make a clown, that’s for sure. Especially not at a rodeo.

I’ll admit it. I’m a chicken. Going eyeball to eyeball with creatures of death that have horns, teeth, and bad breath on one end and horrible instruments that crush and maim down below just doesn’t bear thinking about.

Wait a minute. Horns? Teeth? Bad breath? Kicking and maiming? That sounds like a certain Bed Head Club that straggles down every morning, looking for breakfast and a sibling to pound.

Rats. I wonder if insurance would cover an extended trip to San Juan? It’s for my health, after all.

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