Wednesday, May 28, 2008

The Math

I've had some wacky jobs in my life. When I was in high school I did the obvious things - cut grass, did errands for folks, cleaned out chicken houses (a lousy job), caught chickens (for a large firm that raised and processed chickens), and worked as a bricklayer's assistant. But before I could drive, I picked cotton.
Johnny Watson (no relations) would come by with his big old truck early in the morning. It was in early September when the cotton boles were bursting open with their white payloads. Getting in the fields early had its advantages because, thanks to the morning due, cotton weighs more in the morning. So the idea was to pick like crazy when it's cool and the cotton is wet. Since you got paid by the pound, you needed to have as much weight marked up on your tally sheet before the cotton got dry and the sun got high.
The last time I ever picked, I worked as hard as I've ever worked and I only picked 101 pounds.
They were paying 3 cents a pounds so I took home a whopping $3.03. After that, I took to collecting empty Coke and Pepsi bottles. The deposit on them was 3 cents but thanks to litterbugs in Sloss Hollow, I could pick up $5 worth of bottles in a few hours.
It didn't take me long to do the math.

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