The Luckiest Guy In the World

Is anybody else sick of “current events?”


I’m writing this before Christmas, for it to be published after Christmas. The early deadline and the onset of winter (today is the first day of winter) have not allowed this procrastinator poster child to do enough research to write about the issues we are supposed to be concerned about. So here is the story of my escape from California.

After a year of college I quit. My dad, who was subsidizing it, hit some hard times. The market said quit when I heard from a relative (who, I can’t remember), “why don’t you do something constructive.” The college wouldn’t “educate” me for free.

I installed skylights around Oakland and Berkeley until I looked down and thought about life as an invalid. I had worked in restaurants before so I ended up living six days a week at a restaurant in Sausalito and sleeping on the dining room floor. I washed dishes, cut up vegetables and maintained the place while my room in Oakland sat empty, as far as I knew. I had to hitchhike across the bay to get to whichever place I called home.

Meanwhile, my roommates in Oakland were replaced by junkies. They threw-up on my compost pile and nothing of value remained. That helped me decide which place to call home. Looking at the big picture, and having back-packed in Idaho and Montana, my idea of home was somewhere in the future. It didn’t include California.

Anyone who knows me knows that I call myself the luckiest guy in the world. Want more proof? Here it is. One day I was pulling dandelions out of the pea-gravel around the restaurant and under one of them was a one hundred dollar bill.

Then, the next week, I went to Sumitomo Bank in Oakland to withdraw $56 from my savings account for another month’s rent. That doesn’t show much optimism, does it, yet. As I walked out of the bank I discovered a mistake in my passbook. Just like The Fed, Sumitomo Bank had created $130 out of thin air and donated it to the save Fritz from California fund. In a fit of dishonesty, I closed my account.

The cook had a 1959 VW he sold me for $200. I adjusted the valves, rebuilt the brakes and painted the roof silver (instead of air conditioning) and was ready. The cook looked at the roof and said, as he so often did, “just like New York.”

A friend, who would later be the best man at our wedding, and I took as much gravel and dirt road as we could to get to Missoula.

Not only am I the luckiest guy in the world as evidenced by the wife I found in Iowa, but also being born in a country where we are free to move about and find a better life.

I later mailed $130 plus interest to Sumitomo Bank. 

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