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Sunday, April 05, 2009

My new motto.

The other day, I was at Pout stocking up on stuff to take to the beach (Litchfield - yay!) and I ran into someone I really admire. I won't tell you who it is, because I'm going to quote her and I didn't ask, although what she said was brilliant.

She recently spoke to a bunch of USC Honors College students about the importance of projecting a professional image. She tried to do them a favor, scaring the tar out of them by explaining they would be competing for entry-level jobs not only with their peers, but with old, experienced people desperate for work. Y'all, I hear you can get someone with a Ph.D. in something germ-related to clean your house. But they take forever to do it and they expect health insurance and frankly, they kill the germs but without much style.

Anyhow, every young person has heard versions of "Life is what you make it." "You get back what you put in." The slightly more aggressive: "When the going gets tough, the tough get going." "Take the bull by the horns." The desperate: "Get the hell off my couch and get a damn job." Anyhow. Down in these parts, a lot of us like to kill stuff and eat it. I thoroughly approve of this practice, as I'm hardly a vegetarian. The directness of hunting appeals to me. So does venison chili. I haven't ever gone hunting, although I'd like to, because that's not something my Bunco group enjoys. I thought about going with my friend's husband, Tom, but I talked to someone who spent the day making boudin sausage with him and it involved various other activities including - but not limited to - picking up a boat, talking about stuff I wouldn't understand and hanging with a guy named Gary who wore mirrored sunglasses and had Coors Light in the back of his truck. I don't even drink beer and I bet they don't serve bubbly in a deer blind. Frankly, I don't know if I could hang. I might end up turning into everyone's annoying mom, like I did last weekend at one in the morning when I insisted on double-buckling in a seat belt with a twenty-one year old on the way to a bar on Sullivan's Island. Then gave a little speech about head injuries and how they aren't as heart-warming as you think they will be. Aren't I fun? But I digress.

This woman I admire told the honors students this, my new motto:

"You eat what you kill."

Exactly. And I hope it got those kids, vegetarian or not, all kinds of fired up. Actually, I hope it didn't, because there are plenty of old people out there like me who need jobs. We have a generation (or two, if I'm honest about my own peers) of kids who "don't know how to hunt without guarding a corn pile.*" In the past, a college degree and a decent shirt might garner you a job, if not a career. Over the years, the playing field has gotten bigger. Thanks to civil rights activists, people of all races compete for jobs. Thanks to those wacky women's libbers, even girls can get jobs. Even poor people not on any social register anywhere can compete for college scholarships and, you guessed it, jobs**. And thanks to the recession, old people are hustling for those same jobs. And they will get them, while the youngsters sit around guarding a corn pile.

That was all very depressing. Here's the upside: If you aren't making money anyway, why not make up your own job? I did and, while I'm not getting rich just yet, I get to do what I love all day long. Shopping, hanging out and eating out. Call me shallow. Like I care. I've been called worse At least, I think I have, but not to my face. 'Cause I'm so intimidating, with all my talk about eating what you kill, yo.

Namasté, y'all!

* And I stole that phrase from Bob Bailey, president of the South Carolina Sportsmen's Coalition. He was literally talking about hunting, during a
House subcommittee hearing on a bill to allow baiting for deer in the Upstate. You see, Lowcountry hunters are allowed to put out bait, usually a pile of corn, to attract deer. The debate for and against baiting has been raging for years and I'm not about to offer an opinion. I will offer an opinion on the phrase as a metaphor for success-seeking youngsters. See above.

** Just so you know, with the exception of all those old people who should have the privilege of anticipating retirement, I'm glad the playing field has been opened up to the world at large. It's a good thing.


kbfenner said...

Great post! I had a boyfriend circa 1986--I would have been 26--who said then that a bachelor's degree just gave you the ability to look for a better class of job every two or three years [when you got laid off]--now it's a law degree, too -- actually by 1989 or so, it included a high-powered law degree with silk-stocking law firm experience.
Kudos to you for creating your own life--I have, too. My dad retired in the mid 90s from the Savannah River Laboratory in Aiken where he worked his whole career with BA in Chemistry and good writing skills. Try doing that these days! Eat what you kill, indeed!

Anonymous said...

Meanwhile, my new motto is going to be this: "Call me shallow. Like I care. I've been called worse At least, I think I have, but not to my face."



Unknown said... have a Bunko group?