I know that today’s Generation Me kids work hard for college essentials like iPhones and iPads — that parents and Lottery Scholarships don’t always cover — with such back-breaking labor as building fake-ID websites, selling over-priced jewelry (made by six-year-old Bangladeshis) at mall kiosks, selling plagiarized papers…
By contrast, I had easy jobs: Wearing T-shirts while helping asbestos-suited, steel-mill brick-masons rebuild red-hot furnaces; hauling hay and pouring concrete in 105-degree heat; working in a wood-cutting factory sans safety gear; late-shift college custodian…
However, one job rivaled the hardships endured by today’s indentured collegiates.
My hometown of Mt. Vernon, Texas, is dry.
To raise college funds and help underprivileged friends, I’d make 80-mile round-trips (carrying a fake ID) in my ‘67 Camaro — with a busted grille and up-tilted headlight from a barbed-wire fence incident on Debbie Tom’s 16th birthday — to Lone Star, Texas, to pick up cases of Old Milwaukee quarts and Boone’s Farm wine.
After returning through backwoods blacktops, I’d hide the booty in culverts, abandoned refrigerators, barns and — when flashing lights appeared — toss them in creeks.
Then I’d drive to the town square to a rousing welcome from loyal customers, who gladly paid a 400-percent markup for my treasure maps.
It was stressful, grueling work, but taught me the value of an honest dollar: Two dollars for the wine.