A nice lady who works in my doctor’s office told me I was retired.
I don’t know whence her authority to make such a declaration derived, but she was adamant.
"You’re retired," she stated firmly.
I attempted to protest, but could not come up with an explanation for myself.
When the songwriter said "You were so good with words," I know she was thinking of Bob Dylan, but for most of my life, I felt the phrase could apply to me.
(There was a time when I was actually PAID to write.)
But standing there in the doctor’s office, words failed me.
Months later, I was talking by telephone to a high school classmate who was telling me she had just retired from Emory University.
When she asked me if I was retired, suddenly the words simply fell from my mouth.
"No," I said. "I’m profoundly underemployed."
See, I have one of those work-at-home businesses. I am a publisher.
Various clients hire me to put together things like advertising rack cards, newsletters, "little" magazines, convention and event programs and hotel in-room directories. I have done those for hotels from Travelers Rest, S.C., to Lufkin, Texas.
The time it takes to accomplish this can range from a few hours a day to 10- and 12-hour work days.
But in between, there can be lots of days filled with online jigsaw puzzles and games of Klondike on the computer.
To call it "part-time" employment is presumptuous; "occasional" employment is more fitting.
There are a number of good things about working at home.
The daily commute is a snap. It’s only about 35 feet from my bed to my desk, and that includes the detour around a certain black labrador who always seems to be sprawled at the foot of the bed.
There are no worries about parking, either, and gas costs are negligible -- mostly trips to the convenience store or grocery, an occasional trip into Savannah to meet with a client, and that’s about all.
My schedule is flexible. I can skip work if I want, though usually when there is work to do, I’m so glad to have something to do I knuckle down and get it done.
Likewise with lunch, which is usually leftovers from the previous night’s dinner. But if I decide to have a microwave kraut dog, I don’t have to put up with my wife’s derisive comments.
The work dress code calls for casual attire, and believe me, I can REALLY do casual.
And if I choose to have a cold brew while I work, who’s going to complain? It’s just me, and I’m not complaining.
Now, if only there was good money in it.
Gordon Gardner is a Richmond Hill resident.