Saturday, January 13, 2007

The Learning Curve

By Keith Fisher

I had to make a change in occupations lately. It wasn’t by choice, I assure you. I was learning to be a typesetter when they canceled our project. Now I've moved to a different position in the company, making less money and I've been banished to the early morning hours of the graveyard shift. It’s quite an adjustment to sleep during the day and adapt your lifestyle to the vampire’s realm.

I wouldn’t want you to think I’m totally inept at adapting or uninformed about the other side of the daily clock. Let me explain.

When I was younger I worked straight graveyard shifts. My wife worked days and we never saw each other except in the golden hours between five and ten each evening. I caught a few hours of sleep here and there and life was good, but I was younger then.

Besides the sleep deprivation, I have been experiencing another awakening. (Get it? No sleep . . . awakening?) Anyway, I’ve been learning yet another computer function and working at becoming proficient in another process that has nothing to do with writing or what I set out to be almost 35 years ago.

In my short fifty years on the planet I have worked at many occupations and learned many professions. I had designs that most of them would become my life’s work, my career, or my magnum opus. Now after all these years I find I am, to coin a cliché, Jack of all trades—master of none.

To make matters worse, I was told by a kid one night that people over thirty can’t understand computers. He was kidding of course but I immediately retorted, "You do realize don’t you, that everyone of those responsible for the internet and the information age, the very inventors of the microcomputer, are all over thirty. Some of them are even over sixty."
His answer was, that was before they were thirty, after thirty they got stupid and stopped keeping up. Okay, I’ll give you a minute to gasp in disbelief. Those of you under thirty can agree with him but try to keep it to yourself.

So here I stand at the crossroads to eternity with one foot in the grave and the other on a banana peel, being forced to learn new things, resisting with every breath and hoping for and receiving divine help. I have launched yet another career and with the help of Geritol and a splash of cold water in my face. I may be able to overcome the opinions of my new peers who have pegged me as a no-nothing, over-the-hill codger with digital knowledge acquired in the dark ages. I’ll get by, and maybe I can share a little wisdom, the kind learned through hard knocks and a loving father in heaven.

Just so you don’t think I have forgotten the subject of our blogck: the magnum opus I spoke of, I decided about 15 or so years ago that my life’s work, the thing that would be the measure of my life would be my children and my writing. The job I go to each night (at ungodly hours) is a job. My career is writing fiction with a little non-fiction thrown in for good measure.

Good luck in overcoming your challenges. Some of you may recognize a quote from Red Green "Remember I’m pulling for you . . . we’re all in this together."


Anonymous said...

Someone with your persistence will always overcome. Good luck on graveyards. And keep on writing--you're good at it and it runs in your blood.

Nichole Giles said...

Your "Magnum Opus" is the absolute right direction. The rest of the world will come and go, but your family and your writing will stay with you forever. Good luck.


Tristi Pinkston said...

Those graveyard hours are killers and that's a fact. Hang in there -and show those young whippersnappers a thing or two!