CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- In the interest of completing this column and getting on with my three-day Labor Day weekend as quickly as possible, I offer the following pun-filled abbreviated history of my life as a working stiff in lieu of a more thoughtful, time-consuming column, which could have involved actual labor.While in high school I had a summer job putting up hay, but I just wasn't wired for it. I baled. I decided to get my feet wet in the irrigation business, but I ditched it when I learned there was no raise in the pipeline, making it hard to keep my head above water. Since there was no trickle-down in the sprinkler-moving trade, my prospects for advancement dried up. So I went to college and had an internship as an assistant teacher in a middle school outdoor education program, which was a walk in the woods -- child's play, in fact -- but at the end of the semester, I had to take a hike. Back on campus, a friend and I bought a $300 car with no reverse gear and started a taxi service to the airport, and there was no going back -- until we discovered that college students were lousy tippers and our business went on the scrap heap. It was so un-fare!I got another internship as a magazine proofreader, but I couldn't correct my punctuality issues and was deleted before I could make my mark.
Before I got my dream job at the Gazette, I worked in Oregon as a tree planter, but I was unable to sink roots, and on the landscaping crew of a golf resort, where I just couldn't cut it, dig it or slice it.I also worked on a lobster boat off the coast of Maine, which had its ups and down, and initially made me sick, but it shelled out enough clams to let me ride it out until the off-season left me in a pinch. Besides, there were too many buoys and not enough gulls -- it was time to claw my way out of that trap and drift.Here at the Gazette, I started off on the night police beat, which I found arresting, then moved on to county courts -- a trying experience if there ever was one. From there, it was on to general assignment feature work, and I generally assigned myself to be out of the office and into the woods as much as possible. Feature that!Now I am also a columnist, which gives me the opportunity to fill this space any way I choose.With the holiday weekend approaching and the urge to be a part of it growing, who's to say?It's a cheap stunt, but I could choose to bring this column to a close right in the middle of a