where the writers are
Credentials and Intentions

I dropped out of high school at 17 to work in the oilfields because the pay was better. It was not included in my reasoning at the time, but looking back over my life I believe that dropping out of high school also improved my educational opportunities. The oilfield is a much better teacher than any school, high or otherwise.

But dropping out of high school in the mid 1960's did have a down side, a really really down side, in that I was drafted into the Army for the Vietnam war at 19, while my more "formally" educated contemporaries received a pass on the conscription thingy, because they were in college getting degrees in stuff deemed to be of great importance to the nation. Stuff such as liberal arts and agriculture and other high brow disciplines that would, in theory, help a lot in America's collective task of saving ourself from the perceived impending hordes of domino wielding communists so near to our shores and door steps.

Here's how it worked back in the 1960's; college guys saved the nation by staying home and studying the liberal arts and such, while guys like me who weren't bright enough (or rich enough) to do the heavy lifting of saving the nation by spending  5 or 6 years in college were allowed to do our little bit to help out anyway, by wearing a uniform and killing small brown skinned people lacking round eyes whom our government referred to in Army technical manuals as "Gooks."

Once I dropped out of school for the pay raise of going into the oilfields, I never reentered the educational system in any way that could even loosely be referred to as formal, or even, for that matter, as  acknowledgeable. After eight years of doing my bit for the Army I drifted off to amuse myself with my own thoughts, and to pay my karmic and societal dues not only for killing small small brown people, but also for not having a high school education and for generally displaying a bad attitude toward my betters.

So my "formal education" is scant, but I have read a lot and have seen a couple of things. Through the years I have, besides the oilfield work, variously found myself involved in being a short order cook, a professional fund raiser, a gringo farm  worker in the southwest, a painter,(of houses) a bartender, (of course) an active practicing alcoholic, a less than adequate construction hand, a self taught sheet rock hanger, a real estate developer, a recovering alcoholic, a galley hand, a roustabout, a roughneck and several other more shadowy enterprises, on which the statute of limitations may not yet have ticked away days-enough for me to freely discuss them in any depth just yet.  

Toward the end of my working career I found that a certain American enterprise, involving selling fairly big ticket items to folks who don't really need them, can provide to a person such as myself, that is to say, a person lacking in formal credentials, an opportunity to earn a rather nice six figure income without breaking any easily enforceable laws.

I feel that spending several years in big ticket retail sales, which in and of itself is an education, gives me a certain savvy of human nature not owned by most people. Even if I had never been jailed in Mexico or smuggled comatose like a sack of beans into and out of Canada or seen the visions or spent these 25 plus years as a recovering alcoholic (as I have) I always have the sales experience in the way of credentials on which to hang my otherwise mostly un-credentialed hat. So, I feel entitled to spout off a little about my observations, and that is what I intend to do here, amigos. Gather around.