Money, Part 2- Jeffrey Gets a Job

1978 Chevrolet Camaro Z28

By the time I was 15, like most other boys (and I guess girls too), I started thinking about a car. My parents, of course, couldn’t afford to buy me one. They both worked very hard for what we had but there was just no extra. There are a lot of young boys in the south who would have gone out and found an old beat up truck and fixed it up to be a sexy ride better than anything I could have imagined but, well, that’s more Phillip Swafford than Jeff Key. I tooled along in our old 1967, green Volkswagen beetle which I would love to have today. As it was, I was embarrassed–embarrassed of the crumpled fender, embarrassed of its rust and age. I felt like it betrayed our “poverty.” What a brat. This car had carried Mom back and forth to the University of Alabama –and hour and a half commute (each way) for her to finish her degree in Education. It was this car that Dad used for a long time driving back to Gorgas Steam Plant, often working “swing shifts” or “doubles;” I’m sure this car had to know how to drive itself when the driver was asleep. Both of my parents were proof of this idea. They worked until they couldn’t walk. They did it for us. But nevertheless I still whined for a new car. Again, what a brat! My parents told me, as they should have, that if I was going to have a new car I’d have to buy it. I’d have to get a job.

And so I did.

I had no idea how or where to look for a job. Looking back now, there could have been so many better ways to approach it. That’s one place I could have used some guidance, but the only philosophy “good Christian folk” have is if you need more money, work harder and more! And be grateful for what you get.

I got a job at a drug store a mile from our house. I’d have that car before I knew it! The only problem was that I was hired on at $1.50 per hour and I was only allowed to work one hour each day. My job was to clean the place and to fill up the drink machines. When I look back on this now, I can’t even believe it. The drug store was on a busy intersection where there were hundreds of coal trucks rumbling by each day. Every time the front doors opened, a cloud of road dust would billow in and destroy whatever sweeping, dusting, and vacuuming I’d managed to do. Every day when I got there it looked like the place hadn’t been touched in a month. There was just no way to get it all done in an hour. But this gave me the idea that if the boss saw me working very hard the whole time I was there, he wouldn’t mind if I went over on the time clock each day. First I worked an hour and fifteen minutes a couple of times, then I tried my luck with an hour and a half. Just incase the paycheck lady was going to say anything to the owner, I made sure that everyone knew I was busting my ass the entire time I was there. From the time I hit the door after school until I clocked out and went home, I was in a virtual sprint around the joint. I’d nearly topple the old ladies standing in line to get their Lorazapam. But I had to stay busy or risk being told I wasn’t doing a good job.

Sometimes I would luck out and I’d be at work when it was time for all the other employees to order food from the local Drive-in hamburger joint. When that happened they’d often ask me to go pick it up. That was an extra fifteen minutes on the clock! One day, the paycheck lady (who took everyone’s hamburger order) asked me if I wanted anything. I patted my empty pockets. “Well, I don’t really have any…..” She just winked and whispered, “I’m sure it will be alright.”

I was as tall then as I am now but weighed ninety pounds less. That’s right. That was no typo. Ninety pounds! Of all the things I found inadequate about myself, my body was near the top. I looked nothing like the football players around town who were so clearly what boys were supposed to be. I tried everything to gain weight. A free cheeseburger thrown in to my wage as a bonus was… well, a bonus! If I ran around as fast as I could the whole time I was there, sweating and panting and covered in dust and make sure I got to go pick up the food order, I could walk with $3 and a full belly every day! I started dreaming of what kind of car I’d buy! Finally I made up my mind–  a 1980 Camero Z28, Midnight Blue with light blue lettering. I could almost smell the vinyl.

Here’s the checklist from yesterday:

1) List ten things for which I am grateful. YES

2) Meditate ten minutes morning and evening. NO

3) Read spiritual literature for ten minutes each morning. NO

4) Keep a record of every penny that came in and every penny that went out. NO

5) Work out (CrossFit or lift, Sunday is my off day). SCHEDULED OFF DAY

6) Be true to my sexual reboot program. NO

7) 30 minutes of Mobility WOD (Google it if you don’t know what this is). NO

8) Pray for Adam Nelson. YES

9)  Tithe 10% where I’m spiritually fed and invest 10% for the future. start now on every penny that comes in, no matter how large or small the amount. NOTHING CAME IN

10) Write for four hours each and every day. NO

11)  Drink a gallon of water. NO

12) Spend one hour per day working for the Mehadi Foundation. NO


Looking at this checklist, I feel defeated and discouraged. I’ll try to do better today.


See y’all tomorrow.

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