A person never realizes how much the past influences their current life until it shows up one day and slaps them across the face.
I’ve been a farm hand, journalist, photographer, a small-town mayor and now a university journalism teacher. My former professions come to the surface occasionally, although I rarely get the chance to demonstrate the proper technique for milking a cow.
I stumbled into a few other professions.
Back when I was Young Adult Jason, I was loud, obnoxious, immature, enjoyed beer and laughed at fart jokes. So, basically I was the same as Current Adult Jason but thinner and with more hair. When Young Adult Jason looked for a part-time job, he asked himself, “In what job would my character traits (i.e. problems) not be a liability?”
And he became a bartender.
It’s nice, I tell young people who rarely listen, to have a second skill set to fall back on when life crumbles around you. Bartending is much better than milking cows.
This is why, when I fix beverages at home, I can’t just pour liquid into a cup. That’s boring.
“What are you drinking?” the Girl, now 11, asked while I stood in the kitchen in front of a countertop littered with ingredients.
I held up my Mr. Spock pint glass full of something thick and red. “Blood.” It never occurred to me I should be drinking something green. (Nerd alert: In the TV show “Star Trek,” Mr. Spock’s blood was green.)
She shook her head because once a girl turns 11 Dad is no longer funny.
“What is it really?”
She perked up. She’d never had tomato juice. I gave her a taste, which she liked, then asked for her own glass.
“Sure,” I said “But I think you’ll like it better if I fix it like mine.”
I opened the blender and poured in tomato juice, Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce, a stalk of celery, freshly ground black pepper, the juice from a lime wedge and a dash of salt. I hit “liquefy” and watched the magic of whirling blades turn all those flavors into liquid deliciousness.
“Here you go,” I said and poured it into a glass with a few ice cubes.
She loved it. Of course she did. I’m a professional.
“What’s our daughter drinking?” my wife asked after passing her in the hallway.
“Then what is this?” she said, sweeping a hand toward the mess on the counter.
I smiled because, like any good cook, I feel the need to explain not only the ingredients I used, but the reason for each and how they complement each other, no matter how much my wife doesn’t care
“So, you fixed our 11-year-old a bloody Mary.”
She frowned and walked away.
“There’s no vodka in it,” I called after her.
It didn’t matter. Maybe when I relive a past profession, I should probably stick to milking cows.
– Jason’s newest novel, “Bad Day for a Road Trip,” is available at jasonoffutt.com.