Why I’m lukewarm on tennis…

After the blueberry fiasco (click here to read my last post), I guess my parents still thought I needed a way to earn my keep. It was time for another job. Remember, I was still only 12-years-old.

At the time, I thought my parents were horrible. But looking back, I’m glad they at least tried to teach me how to work. But I digress….

This time, the ungainful employment was much closer to home. As a matter of fact, it was probably about 35 steps. You see, we lived in a townhome complex, and the unit we lived in was adjacent to the tennis courts. In fact, I was woken up most Saturday mornings by swearing, which was caused by some novice’s flubbed attempt at a serve. Man…sorry about the tangents.

Well, my parents talked to the landlord and he agreed to pay me and my siblings if we would weed the tennis courts. If you will recall, we lived in the middle of California and it got hot in the summertime. I learned early on the blisters and backache associated with picking pernicious plants. And although it was hard work, there is a certain sense of accomplishment involved in doing something with your own hands. Well, once again, after a couple hours of hard manual labor, we eagerly went to collect our pay. It was definitely better than picking blueberries, but no much.


We trudged all 35 steps home and complained immediately to mom. I can’t remember much of what was said, but needless to say, we didn’t go back to work.

Now, here is the lesson. The very next Saturday, after being awakened by fluent cussing, I peeked outside and saw the landlord spraying all the cracks and edges of the courts with weed killer. Weed Killer!

Again, at the time I was pretty furious. But hindsight is 20/20, so here is what I learned from quitting that job:

Just because something is easier, doesn’t mean we should do it. I mean, sure. I could have killed the weeds in a fraction of the time it took me to pick them all, but I wouldn’t have felt that sense of satisfaction. So sometimes, do things the hard way! Especially if you are trying to teach a bunch of unemployed, underage, hoodlums!

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