‘Unemployed’

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A classic George Ostrom column, from June 1973...

A week or two ago, or whenever it was the general fishin’ season opened, I took my two boys up the Swan.

We checked out several high roily creeks and the upper and lower river trying to find some decent looking water. We managed to get a few small brookies out of Cilly Creek, but generally the trip was not to productive.

We were still maintaining an optimistic attitude until we bumped into Joe and Flo Nelson. They told us they had just seen Mugs Huff sittin’ in the Swan Lake community store. That did it...when Muggs is “sittin’ in the store” opening day, George Ostrom isn’t going to waste any time tryin’ to find some good fishin’.

Since I came home from college 21 years ago and started digging toilet holes for the Forest Service, this is the first time I’ve been unemployed.

It has been several months now since I had a job. The only other guy I know about my age who also doesn’t have a job is my brother, but most of the time when I go over to his house and ask his wife if Ritchey can come out and play, she tells me she doesn’t know where he is.

Sometimes I go downtown and get one of the guys out of a bank, store, or office to go fishin’ or motorcycling, or something. Then their wives get mad at me because I am leading their breadwinners astray.

Sometimes I stay home and try to tell my first wife Iris how to be more efficient in doing the housework and she tells me to “get lost.”

One of my kids had to fill out a thing at school asking “father’s occupation,” I told her to put down newspaper columnist. She said, “But Daddy, that wouldn’t be right because you only do that a couple of hours.”

I never used to wear nice clothes, but now I put on my Sunday best threads during the week so that people will think I have work. I’ve opened an office in a building on main street and out a sign on the door that says, “George Ostrom - President.” Nobody can find the office but that’s good because I don’t have to explain what I’m president of, and I’m never there anyway.

When I figure out a good thing to be president of, I’ll hire a well built secretary and then maybe Iris will be sorry she didn’t take advantage of the free advice she had a chance to get on household efficiency.

Several people have offered me employment but they wouldn’t let me be president. Seeing as how I’ve already paid for that sign, I had to turn down the offers.

A friend just called from Washington and offered me a trip salmon fishing in northern British Columbia next month. Guess I’ll have to take him up on it and then maybe start lookin’ for work in August if something doesn’t come along.

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