I rode my bike along side the road for 2 miles until I reached the plaza. There were no bike paths, and I was the only kid who owned a helmet. And was forced to wear it. My bike was pink and purple. I was in style. Minus the helmet.
I walked into the make shift trailer along side the building still under construction. It smelled like stale food and ink cartridges. A blonde lady sat behind the desk reading paperwork. She smiled at me and waived me in the door.
Everything in my body told me to run away. Just hop on my bike, drive to the park and back and return home to tell my mom the position had already been filled.
“So, this would be your first job?” She asked?
“Yes,” I nodded.
“And you are how old?”
“Fourteen.” I meekly replied.
She smiled and slowly began to explain the job to me. It was something I would hear many times over. Customer service, helping people, the customer is always right, never be late. Work over time. Weekends. Holidays.
“That’s not a problem is it?” She asked sweetly.
“No, of course not,” I quickly replied.
“Well, you start next week!”
“Great!” I nervously replied. I guess I was supposed to be happy.
I left the make shift office next to the half constructed fruit market in disbelief. Did I just get a job? I must have done something right. Said something special or witty, although I couldn’t remember what. Or they just needed bodies, and I was one of them. I felt slightly good to be needed.
It was from that moment on, I knew I couldn’t work for anyone. I was miserable in most positions that required me to work for a company. For The Man.
But I needed money to buy film and sneak into rated R movies. So, a job became necessary. The manager used to throw fruit when he got angry. He was a crazy hairy Italian man. I was afraid of him. He called me at home once when I was sick and asked why I couldn’t work sick. I quit soon after that to work at a banquet hall. (Where I developed my wedding addiction).
Then a pizza place.
Then waiting tables in college.
And more pizza places.
And then finally a corporate advertising job after college, which is what I thought I wanted. Until I got laid off.
However, along the way something happened. My freshman year of college I was sent out to photograph GVSU‘s football practice. I came back with images that school paper actually printed. And I got paid! Ok, not a lot. But I made money from art. Real money that wasn’t for cheap after school activities. Money I could pay my bills with. Pay my tuition. Be independent. And I got to see my name in print for the first time.
It was one of the best feelings in the world. And I’ll never forget it!
Below are some of many football images I shot in my days as a Laker. Ah, memories…
Up next… Continuing the nostalgia with some of my very first wedding images, on film!