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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Empty Nester/Retirement (from work) (09/10/09)

TITLE: The Totem Pole
By Paul Potenza
09/10/09


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The Totem Pole

Whenever I hear some fossilized old fudd say "Oh I'll NEVER retire...I just wouldn't know what to do with myself." I want to emit the bitter barking laugh of a seal choking on a kazoo. This is because I, personally will never get a chance to retire nor will I ever have a truly empty nest.

You see I adopted 4 children. I am 54 years old and unemployed. I should start a new job sometime within the next month and If I successfully work at that job for 20 years, I'll be 74. Obviously I won't be laying pipeline in Alaska. No...my opportunities are more limited to Greeter at WalMart or Urinal Cleaner at the local high school.

It didn't start out that way. Oh no. I started out hard and fast and I held some pretty important jobs in my life for some high powered people but I made some dumb decisions and I ended up here at the bottom of the totem pole.

Please don't get the idea that I'm feeling sorry for myself. (Actually I am a little.) I just thought that I'd be farther along in the pecking order than I am right now. As for an empty nest, my kids see to it that I'm never alone. I have three sons, one daughter, eight grandchildren and three great grandchildren as well as one son who was thoughtful enough to provide me "babysitting" chores for his idiot husky named Apollo because he (my son, not Apollo) didn't quite grasp the fact that when you buy a dog of this nature, you can't keep it in an eight by ten foot cage in a trailer and expect it to fare well whilst you (my son again) are working 10 to 15 hours per day. Since I happen to have a rather large yard and can keep an eye on the dog, he gets to stay with me while I housebreak, walk and clean up after him alternately filling in the post holes he keeps digging in my yard. (Not that I am complaining.)

When I look at what my life has become and where it is going I have to smile.

You see, I am rich.

I have a God who loves me enough to ensure that I will never get complacent but He still gives me my daily bread. I have sons and a daughter who have provided me with grandchildren and great grandchildren so that I'll have to get off the couch if for no other reason than to shoo them out of my guitar case.

And I have Apollo, who climbs up onto my bed at night and rests his head on my belly as I'm reading. I scratch his ears and he falls asleep, safe in the knowledge that I'll never retire, and he dreams of post holes yet undug.

Maybe tomorrow I'll get him to dig one for my totem pole.


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This article has been read 297 times
Member Comments
Member Date
c clemons09/17/09
It does sound a little like complaining but your writing was very good.
Cherie B.09/17/09
LOL! I enjoyed this. It made me smile. Good job.
Graham Starling09/17/09
"seal choking on a kazoo" is nice hyperbole but awkwardly delivered. "Don't get the idea I'm feeling sorry for myself. (Actually I am)" is nice gently honesty but why the full stop (period) before the brackets? A bit cliche in parts, but good humour in the delivery and highly enjoyable read overall.
Mary McLeary09/19/09
I hear the top of the totem pole is very gusty. Lots of hot air. Loved your humor and faith in The Father.
Shilo Goodson09/21/09
I enjoyed your story. It is wonderful that your life is filled with the love of your family.