Thursday, December 3, 2009

Your first job can be like being on "Survivor"

I was watching the clever Fox show "Glee" last night and in one scene the guy leaves his wife and needs a place to sleep. Long story short, he rips the plastic cover off a new mattress and sacks out.

All I could think of was, "That plastic was my first shower curtain."

My first job was an adventure, and the fact that I had almost no cash made it ever more so. When I arrived in my two-seater, I had all my clothes, a ten inch black and white TV, and a record player.

No furniture, no nothin'.

The apartment had a tub/shower combo, but no curtain. So it was baths for awhile.

I slept on the floor the first two weeks, waiting for my first paycheck so I could buy a mattress. When it arrived I carefully cut the plastic down the side and slid it over the shower curtain rod. It worked fine as a shower curtain until the next paycheck.

My new neighbor came over to introduce himself and noticed my tiny television set. He had an interesting job; he swapped out television sets in hospitals. He told me the ones he took out were perfectly good color sets that the hospital let him take.

One problem: hospital TV sets have no sound. The speaker is in that handset near the bed.

He told me I could have a color set if I wanted, and I knew exactly what to do. I got a cable splitter and hooked up the black and white to the color set. The black and white provided the sound, the color set provided the picture. I hooked it up to a cable box and when I turned the knob it would change the channel on both TVs.

Another neighbor laughed and said I had created the world's first true stereo TV system.

Being broke isn't much fun, unless you can step back and laugh at the adventure of it all. Every paycheck would come and I'd take a few bucks to buy something I needed. Nice towels one week, a toaster the next. Little, simple stuff like that seemed to get me through.

Many of you are in a similar boat, but unlike me, many of you have student loans. Sometimes it can seem like there's no end in sight to the financial woes, but it does get better. You simply have to look at the big picture.

Even if it has no sound at the time.

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