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Planning my life A to Z

Posted by Royost, on Sun May 10, 2009 8:46 pm
In high school we were taught to plan our lives from step A to step Z if we wanted to be successful. We were told to put a lot of thought into what we wanted to become and then write down the steps required to accomplish that goal. We were advised that, as we advanced through life and strove toward that goal, we may have to make minor adjustments. If we kept the big picture in mind, however, we would ultimately reach our goal and achieve happiness. Just very attentively follow the steps from A to Z.My high school counselor, Merritt Parsons, recommended that I should become a Certified Public Accountant (CPA). At the time, I was impressed. Not just a PA but a CPA. Certified! How could a person go wrong with a title like that? That then was my goal. Step A was to go to school to learn how to be a CPA. Step B was to be a CPA. The steps in between C and Z were kind of fuzzy but I figured they would come about somehow.So, after I graduated from high school, I bought a fedora hat, went down to the American School of Business (ABC) in Des Moines and signed up. I worked at Deitwieler Farm Machinery Company in Des Moines during the day and went to ABC in the evening. At Deitwieler, I made out invoices and loaded farm equipment onto trucks for shipment to distributors throughout Iowa. Made 80 cents an hour.I quit Deitwieler after a few months. Oh, I liked the work alright and the big money but I quit due to an embarrassing incident. One of the guys who worked there - Duke he called himself although his real name Roger - had poor bathroom habits. He never bothered to raise the toilet seat and had such bad aim that he went all over everything every time he went in there.When I went in, I had to clean up the seat before I sat down. To be extra safe, I'd very carefully place three sheets of toilet paper on the seat - one on each side and one across the back - before I sat down. Well, one time the sheet across the back got caught in the waist of my trousers when I pulled them up. Out I go with this piece of toilet paper dangling, unbeknownst to me, behind me.The lady, who sat at the desk across from mine and with whom I was madly in love, kept tittering and glancing askance in my direction that afternoon. I thought maybe she was beginning to like me even though there was a great age disparity - she being an old lady of about 28.Around about quitting time, she finally told me I had toilet paper hanging from the back of my trousers.That night, I decided I would not to go back to Deitwieler. I also decided I would not pursue a CPA career. I would join the Navy and go to Korea and get killed and be a hero and reverse time so this terrible thing would never happen. Maybe the old lady of 28 would not remember the incident as she shed tears of sadness over my casket.So much for step A. It being Korea time, I went down to the recruiting station and joined the Navy. Didn't need the hat anymore so I gave it to Dad.We had three weeks before reporting back to the recruiting station. We still had a lot of goodbyes to say and a lot of fooling around to do but we were in bad need of money so we went to work for the Iowa Packing Company. Charles got a cushy job inside doing time cards or counting money or something else I forgot what. I got a job shoveling wet salt out of railroad cars. Wet salt weighs ten times more than iron and along toward the end of the day it weighs more than that. I decided right then and there that shoveling salt was not going to be one of my career choices.In the Navy, you don't have to really plan your life. There is always someone telling you exactly what to do. Oh, once in a while you will stumble into something and have to make a decision. That is how I became a cook. Certainly no A to Z planning. I sat down at the mess table across from the ship's cook one day and he started talking about how nice his job was. The next day, I was the ship's cook and he was gone on leave and after that he transferred to another ship and I never saw him again. I found out later that the Captain told him that he couldn't get leave until he got a replacement. It took me a while but I learned how to be a cook and did quite well at it.The embarrassing incident which caused me to join the Navy became more obscure in my memory as time passed by and I eventually changed my mind about dying. Besides, on one of my liberty nights, I met this pretty little lady at Tom-Tom's Drive-In in Long Beach. Bill Mochnick, Charles Cerfolgi, Raymond and I were in Bill's 1948 Ford convertible. Anna and three of her girl friends pulled into the spot next to ours and started flirting with us. Before we parted for the evening, Ray and I were invited to the Valentine dance at her college.One thing lead to another and, since I'd lost both of my girl friends back home by putting a letter intended for one in the envelope intended for the other and vice verse, Anna and I got married. Sometime in the heat of courtship, Anna had asked what I was going to do when I got out of the service. I had absolutely no idea so I said I was going to college.She remembered that when I got out of the navy and I couldn't talk my way out of it so, by default, I now had a new step B. I didn't know what I was going to be so I still didn't know what step A was. Mechanical Engineering somehow had a nice ring to it and I didn't want to be a cook so that was it then. I would be a Mechanical Engineer. Step A was now in place.I still don't know what I want to be when I grow up. I just know that I am happy with what I am doing now. I work at Interstate Electronics Corporation in Anaheim. My assignments now involve the design and development of undersea equipment. Toward that end I am given pretty much free rein to develop designs and test them out at the David Taylor Research Center in Bethesda, MD. I use a great deal of the physics, math and science disciplines I learned in college. I tutor math in the evenings now and then. Everything has come together. I am enjoying life.One of these days I am going to go back to completing the list from C to Z and following it through. In the mean time, I hope Merritt doesn't get offended when he finds out that one sheet of toilet paper had a much greater impact on my life than all of his career counseling.


Last edited by Royost on Mon May 11, 2009 2:31 pm; edited 4 times in total
Reply by tarababy, on Sun May 10, 2009 11:37 pm
Hi Royost, what a lovely story you tell.Its amazing how one's life can go in all sorts of directions,and not one of them will be anything like you planned.But what a great time you can have while on those journeys....and the things we learn along the way......makes us who we are when we get here now...know what I mean?!Like myself....wanted to be a great ballerina...ended up doing lingerie shows and stripping...lmao...but hey,I sure enjoyed travelling that journey to get here.Ok, I could have missed the last 5 yrs no worries...but again....this has made me stronger and I like that..So, I'm with you ...I'm happy in my skin now more so than ever before.I work hard.(and not dancing either,mm,not sure that would work anymore..lmao).,I'm a breakfast cook/waitress/PR consultant,and when I get the chance I play hard...but gee,its getting harder to do...the hangovers are not worth it.
    Anyway, just wanted to say hi and I enjoyed your story,thanks.   Tara
Past Member
Reply by Past Member, on Mon May 11, 2009 8:45 am
What an interesting life royost,i really enjoyed reading your post!
Reply by vulcanBMk2, on Mon May 11, 2009 10:36 am
I'm afraid I didnt plan my life , It planned me!! Got born, Had a great childhood in a little English country village next to an RAF base where dad was stationed( great for little boys ) -Moved to a bigger town in my teen years ( Great for bigger boys) Got work-Got married -Got 2 little girls -got divorced ( never to see any of them ever again) Had 46 Jobs since leaving school.Travelled , lived & worrked all over UK. Seen all the parts of the World I want to see. Had 4or 5 meaning full relationships with ladies ( No more marriage thank you) Plus 61 other Girlfriends ( Names will be changed to protect the innocent!!)at the age of 63 Ihave had present partner & her family for over 20 yrs.Got Cancer-Had Urostomy-Stopped work & retired early .( Hernia Op. & remedial op being carried out on July) Nope didnt plan a thing!!but had a great life , met strange people & done things that would make your hair curl--I dont regret a minuet& wouldnt change a thing ( except urostomy ) Just bought a Jeep , so I am going to keep on Trucking!! & see what else is lurking in the Crystal Ball..........................
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