Thursday, June 24, 2010

Two Percent

It doesn't work for me in either milk or air.
Today Phoenix tied a record for low humidity. Two percent. It has never gotten lower since the 1850's.  That's good news, since I've lived in humid places and it is miserable.

The bad news is, it was also 110.

The good news is, I was working indoors.

The bad news is, the air conditioner was broken.

The good news is, I wasn't doing something really "physical" like hanging sheetrock.

The bad news is, I was painting... with a sprayer.  18 gallons of paint on the walls. Instant paint sauna.

The good news is, it was paying work, something I haven't had much of for almost two years now.

So, I get home.  I shower, I'm reading email and the doorbell rings.  My daughter calls me... There's someone here.  I go upstairs.  At the door is a young man with a satchel full of books.  He starts to show me a book about Jesus, the King of Peace.  He looks at our icons through the doorway and says, Oh, it looks like you are really into Jesus.  We have a short conversation about Orthodoxy, which he has never heard of. He says, "I have these books about Jesus you might like" and starts to show me his satchel full of titles.

I say, you know what, I'd love to buy a book from you, but we're...

...and he says, "really broke, huh?"  I say, yeah, really broke. I don't think I can buy a book today.

He says, well, the price says 19.95 but we're giving them away for a donation of ten dollars.

I look at the young man. I know what he's doing. I almost did a summer gig back in 1974 selling Bibles door to door to make money for college.  It was 14-16 hour days, 6 days a week and a crappy sales rate... it was purely a numbers game. The more rejections you got, the more sales you made. I didn't do it.  He is. In Arizona. In 110 and two percent humidity.

I ask him what I usually ask kids who are selling candy or books or magazines door to door, "so do they keep track of how many books and how much money you come home with at night, and you get what, two bucks for selling me this book?"  He says what they always say, Well, yeah. 

I do to him what I do with all the other kids... I dig in my pocket and hand him ten dollars, and I hand the book back to him.  I say, keep the book and put the ten in your pocket and don't tell them about it.  He looks at me wide eyed. Really? Ummm...

Yeah, really.  Keep it.

He says, THANK YOU, sir... but...

I say, keep it. You're a hard working young man. God bless you and good luck.  As he walks backward down the sidewalk he stammers, Thank you.... Thank you sir, thank you.... 

Its always a good day when you can make a kid's day for only ten bucks. 

9 comments:

elizabeth said...

Yeah, that is a good day. So glad you got paying work! Painting is hard work! Hope you had a mask when spraying! :)

Anonymous said...

A mask when painting...that's a novel idea, huh, Husband?!!! No, he doesn't wear them. :-(

Fr Joseph Huneycutt said...

Sold books for a couple summers with Southwestern Book Company while in college ... I've got lots of stories, but none like that one. Way to be!

Samantha Ordos said...

Awesome :)

Anonymous said...

I did a summer like that in New Mexico, and it's a novel thing for an Ohio boy. I didn't sweat; I just had salt chafing in my armpits at the end of the day. It's 80 degrees with 60 percent humidity here now, at sundown, and frankly, I'd take 100 at 2% any day.

As for the 10 clams, it's 10 clams. Not much to most of us, but a lot to many. Reminds me of the woman at the Temple who dropped in her whole fortune, which was a pittance. And I guess we all know what He said 'bout that.

Hoping this kid is well......

Baby Bedding said...

Anyway reading of books a good habit of man, any book you read, you will get something good rather than bad.

Anonymous said...

I am sorry things are so bad on the work front. Fortunately the GFC missed us (well our country), but it is easy to forget things are still not so good for others. We will pray you get through it.

Neal Skorpen said...

Pah ha ha! That cartoon is hilarious!

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