A New Life in a New Land, Chapter 2 … TIME’S UP!

Hey! Be me! No me! No me! No me!

Hey! Be me! No me! No me! No me!

Up until that point I’d successfully avoided the necessity of getting a real job, aka a career!

Sure, I’d had great part-time jobs and cozied-up to a full-time job when, for a year or so, I sold Kirby vacuum cleaners door-to-door for a couple weeks a month. In retrospect that wasn’t such a bad gig. While not forgoing essentials of civilized life, such as mom’s laundry services, etc., I had my own apartment, a ’59 Austin Healey 100-6, and plenty of dough for mischief. In fact I probably wouldn’t have quit that life but for the army’s intrusion into it.

My gig with the army wasn’t really all that bad. Though the first few initial months were a bit rough what with the physical torture and the identity theft … which they do by shaving you, shaming you, endlessly harassing you, threatening you and bending you into a rifle bearing robot that unquestioningly obeys orders.

However after enduring those first months and getting sculpted into the army’s version of the perfect physical specimen, things got immeasurably better. In fact, I probably would have paid the Pentagon for my time in Koblenz … even if they’d not made such generous contributions to my education following my discharge. I owe the army a lot!

But by October of 1970 I’d run out of time and found myself in Canada, a nation where everyone lives in a long rubber band looking strip of land that’s one hundred miles wide and three thousand miles long.

I stood at its western-most end and my future was at hand. Precisely what that future would look like I knew not. Nevertheless I faced it boldly, though some might say foolishly. I had no family, no friends, no acquaintances, no connections and no money. On top of which I had a wife and a dog to support, rent to pay and an account at Harry’s Market!


Okay, buddy, time to choose!

Of course I did have a degree in English from Berkeleyan item of inestimable intrinsic value but with no actual currency in my new world … none whatsoever.

I had an ace up my metaphorical sleeve though. I could sell! I knew I could sell as well as I knew I could walk or whistle or breathe. I’d discovered that on my first day of work in the world of commerce, when, at fifteen, I sold a newspaper subscription to a blind man.

So that was that! I’d start in sales. And, when I thought of it, I concluded it was a marvelous use for a degree that for years had forced me to write and write and write and write and then write some more! If nothing else you learned how to say a lot with a little … which is, of course, the essence of clear, persuasive communication.

He wrote copy for

I’m a copy writer on Madison Avenue

“Where will it all lead and how much do I need to make?” were the first questions that next came to mind.

After rummaging around with some complex mental math I deduced that I’d aim to make the equivalent of the amount it would take to support a family of six or eight. That’d give me money for current needs while creating a handsome reserve fund with which I could buy that most precious of earthly treasures … time.

And answering the “where will it all lead” question was easy! I’d get into advertising and write copy! After all, that’s what a beatnik hero of mine at the time did, Allen Ginsberg. And besides, I’d write great copy! Irresistible copy! Memorable copy that just couldn’t be ignored!

“That’s it! My future lies in sales!” I exclaimed triumphantly.

However, as important as composing that personal mission statement may have been, it didn’t quite solve the small, nagging exigencies of the moment, the gaps of logic in my rather poorly thought-out emigration scheme … namely money!

I needed to make some money fast! I needed to get a job … pronto!




About Joe Illing

I hope you'll find my posts entertaining, occasionally edifying and worth whatever time you can spend with them ... Joe
This entry was posted in A New Life in a New Land, How To Sell A Newspaper Subscription To A Blind Man and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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