I have found myself at the figurative crossroad recently. I have a hard time speaking about a crossroad without hearing Eric Clapton playing an A chord riff; but let’s stick to the subject. I spent two years serving as a Hospital Corpsman in the United States Navy. When I got out in 1986, I worked in several hospitals over the next ten years as a phlebotomist (the guy in the lab coat that draws your blood for testing). In 1998, I was no longer in that field and, with the encouragement of my wife and a few loved ones, decided to go back to college.
I completed my degree program in 2001. I spent most of the next eight years working in software/hardware quality testing. I now currently work in technical support. There have been some bumps in the road along the way (i.e. layoffs). Overall, I would definitely have to say that it has definitely been worth the investment of my time (and my family’s time) to pursue that degree. Nearly ten years later, I find myself in my mid-forties at the aforementioned metaphorical crossroad. I know that it is MY crossroad because I can look up and see a pair of sneakers hanging over the power line. I could continue to maintain my current career in Information Technology (while picking up new skills along the way via experience). Alternatively, I could begin to move things in a different direction in the interest of acquiring new skills and becoming a better-rounded individual (and feed people a straight line about my physique). The one option I knew I did not have was to just stand at the corner and watch life pass by. I had to follow the wisdom of Yogi Berra: “If you come to a fork in the road, take it.”
My family has been telling me for years that I needed to find a way to mesh my hospital experience with my information technology experience. I finally found a degree program that appeared to do just that. Further research (with the assistance of my wife, Renee) showed that I could even pursue this degree entirely over the Internet (with the exception of internships). In the space of less than two days; my wife had called the college, we had filled out financial aid forms, and I had applied for admission to pursue a Bachelor’s degree in Health Information Management. The college told my wife that they were waiting for my transcripts from my two year college. They told her that in approximately two weeks, I would receive a packet that would confirm my admission and tell me how many credits transferred from my two year college.
I patiently waited a few days before I decided to get antsy. Mind you, my wife would probably suggest that I am apparently working on a different solar cycle (with much shorter days). I became the kid in the back of the station wagon destined for the family vacation spot. Every day I went by I would ask my wife if the acceptance letter had arrived. Very day she would patiently respond with “Not today, honey”. Another day would arrive and the process would start again. “Did the letter come today?” “Not today, honey.” “Do you think it’ll come tomorrow?” “I dunno, honey. We’ll see.” If my wife was not available, I’d ask my daughter. Some days, Brianna would anticipate the question and just say “No, Dad. It didn’t come today” You could almost FEEL Brianna rolling her eyes when I asked her.
This waiting game is only exacerbated by the fact that I am beginning to notice there are a lot of artists singing songs about sending or receiving a letter. These artists include (but are not limited to): REO Speedwagon, The Box Tops, The Marvelettes, Brad Paisley, Pat Boone, John Prine and Bo Donaldson and the Heywoods. Bo Donaldson and the Heywoods have prompted me to get something off my chest here. So, please forgive me while I go down a brief bunny trail. Billy, I don’t know who you are. What I DO know is that your young and lovely fiancée does not wish for you to be a hero. Can you please just tell the little lady that you WILL be a hero and to go on with her life? Otherwise, she is just going to get a letter and throw it away and we will still be hearing about it 35 years later. Therefore, I ask you, Billy. PLEASE cut us a break.
So, the days pass (as well as two weeks) and still no letter. The daily call-and-response continues between my wife and me. I know that any day now, I am going to ask my wife about the letter. My wife is going to turn to me with those gentle eyes and say: “NO! NO, YOU DID NOT GET YOUR STINKIN’ LETTER! AS A MATTER OF FACT, WHEN THE POSTMAN CAME TODAY, I PUNCHED HIM IN THE MOUTH FOR NOT PROVIDED THE ONE THING THAT WOULD GET YOU TO SHUT UP!” When this happens, I will just have to lovingly look at my wife and ask: “Do you think it’ll come tomorrow?”
I did follow up with the college. They confirmed they DID (finally) receive my transcript and should receive something “any day now”. I guess they work on a different solar cycle too. I think they have shorter days in the Arctic North. I guess I will just try and relax for now and maybe listen to some music. OH, MAN! They are playing that song AGAIN. Come ON, Billy. I can’t take much more of this.