“a three hour tour…” or how I got the nickname Minnow

Not feeling well today, worked a full day ending with a lively meeting of CEOs (I was the dumb one in the room taking their minutes), my eyeballs are hot, my arms ache – fluish – skipping a meeting this evening.  But I can’t let it stop my daily bloggation…

Okay, how I got the nickname “Minnow” in college.

I had gone to college majoring in Fine Art.  I had no idea what I wanted to do – if you know me at all, you know I still don’t, and my last words will probably be “Hey, wait, now I know, I’m gonna be a…!” and my head’ll plop back on the pillow.

I was naive; I still am and always will be, and I know I telegraph it.  I should have taken a couple years from school before I went to college, to get some idea of the world and how it worked.  I had some imbalance issues going on with my brain’s chemistry but my parents were the kind of people to not want to talk about things, and I was the kind of nice bright boy that teachers liked, and back then things were different, so no one ever asked me if  I was okay.

In 1980 The Spectrum campus newsroom was a cross between Animal House and M*A*S*H, with soundtrack  by Springsteen and the Stones and Gang of Four.  And Lou Reed if you were smart enough to stay through to the ending credits.

And I was Larry Kroger – without the getting lucky part.

My family had gone through a couple rough years, and things were simpler, so without even really trying I got enough in grants to literally get paid to go to college.

I also got a little work-study job.  The work-study administrator knew me through family – she was not only a woman and young, she had spina bifida and was in a wheelchair; 30 years ago she was considered a pioneer.

She knew I was bookish so she picked for me the most appropriate job she could, in The Spectrum‘s business office.  I compared the size of the display ads in the paper with their order slips, to make sure no one got shortchanged or we weren’t giving away free ad space.  I approved the invoices before we mailed them out, or collected them for periodic payments for the larger, consistent accounts.  I did other things too.

My work-study grant for my first year was 9 hours a week – 3 hours on each issue, Monday, Wednesday and Friday afternoons.

Phil and Steve, the financial chief and his assistant, seemed like dour 30 year olds to me, although they were just seniors who affected cynicism and moustaches.

That first semester a couple of my fine art professors were shitty – the two who were artists, one leaving us for the first six weeks to create an installation, the other an alcoholic who didn’t show up for class half the time.  So by my second semester I switched my major to English.  I liked the newspaper, it was somewhere I could belong in the huge university as a commuter, and I told The Spectrum I wanted to write and they let me.

One day Phil and Steve were laughing about how I ended up staying in the thick of it.  “He was only supposed to be here for a 3 hour job – he’s The Minnow!”

Yeah, it fit.


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