Doctor Jack of All Trades

Commencement speech for the walk of life…

I’ve tried to come up with a simple description of my job history. My official title reads flower girl, humane society employee, pet shop, lunch lady, plant nursery, custom drapery representative, cleaning lady, retail sales support, library assistant, artist, writer.

I failed to mention the mink farm. The job lasted two days. There was no bathroom. We peed behind a tree.

My life has been the Johnny Cash song, “I’ve Been Everywhere.” Instead of towns such as Fargo, Crater Lake, and Pasadena, I’ve worked everywhere, man.

I’ve held two, three, or four jobs at a time depending on how you view the roles of wife and mother. Love Muffin and Mama are classified as freebies that require great skill for no glory or 401K.

My dedication to family, my child’s college degree, and my moral compass decided my commitment to a job. In retail, I was encouraged to suggest items to customers, things that she didn’t even know she wanted. Marketing practices lacked integrity. Marketing ploys pad a CEO’s already astronomical paycheck. When my paycheck neither reflected customer impulse buys nor did my pay raises keep pace with male coworkers’ raises, I moved on.

I may not be educated with a degree, but I’m definitely experienced to a degree. I know shit, literally. There’s a big difference between canary crap and parrot poop and iguana ingots and ferret feces.

Employment variety imparted knowledge and doled out gritty lessons. The saying, “whatever doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger” is bullshit. Physically demanding jobs beat the hell out of your muscular and skeletal systems. Tendonitis, bursitis, and all manner of “itis” will plague you later in life.

Plants and pets are hard work, but worth it. Some people shouldn’t own pets. A healthy meal can see you through the day. Never look down on a person because they scrub floors. Don’t trip over them either. A good book means the world. Beauty refreshes the soul. Laughter is music.

With all this knowledge, I feel I’ve earned the right to an honorary degree. One needs to display strong character and notable achievement to earn an honorary degree. I can attest that I’m a strong character. You should see what I can achieve with a pound of beef.

My degree can be named Doctor Jackus (not to be confused with jackass) of All Tradeus. I might even be asked to give a commencement speech to impart wisdom on others. I can see the speaking engagements piling up and the addition of another title to the bulging resume.

I’d highlight the speech with notable pieces of wisdom.

  1. Graduates, whatever you do, don’t do it because your parents think it’s best for you. I can honestly say that my parents didn’t push me to work on a mink farm or to quit working on a mink farm. I was free to make the determination that I didn’t have to pee in the woods for a paycheck.
  2. Don’t do anything just for the money. A large paycheck to buy stuff means nothing without time to enjoy the fruits of your labor. If you die prematurely from a stress induced heart attack, your kids will pay someone to clean the house and throw your stuff away.
  3. If you live by the first two suggestions, you won’t use alcohol as a means to numb your life. Alcohol will be a reward for discovering the cure for cancer or for finishing a less than 700 word essay.

Dr. Jack of All Trades has a smooth flow and a certain amount of sophistication. Don’t you think?




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