Later Life Lessons

by Mark Wynn

I'm trying to get an idea through some numb skull kid about an important life lesson.

It's about opening doors. I've known for years longer than this specific lesson that me doing poorly in school closed some doors. Not just because I have no real degree (I finished an AA to replace my high school diploma in my mind) but because in many aspects I have the mind of a dropout. That closed more doors than I intentionally set out to close.

This particular titmouse is the age to consider college. College and high school provide opportunities to keep doors open while opening a few more. This sounds elementary to a lot of people but I don't remember too many people explaining this to me when I was young.

I was labeled dropout #2 to my face by Mr Caldwell, and Mr. Miracle of all people, my freshman year after being led out in handcuffs. Some of what dear Mrs Irvin taught me the year before she was gunned down did apparently take though so...

My lesson I wanted the young nitwit to grasp isn't the importance of college unnecessarily. It was about open doors and recognizing an opportunity when it's presented. And how waiting on an opportunity can cause you to miss them just as easily as dropping out.

This pandemic presents opportunities. It has disrupted normal life to the point that what possibly appeared absurd 6 months ago would be welcomed today. There's a giant door temporarily open for the right person.

In the Ohio Valley it's common to hear the factories are where the good jobs are but you got to know someone to open the door for you. For decades you hear that growing up.

When I first thought of the pedicab taxi idea I only pictured me hanging around outside the Town House waiting on Shawn Mathews to stumble out so I could socialize while being slightly entertaining. After the idea expanded in my mind I realized everyone in town will know me before the end of the summer. I immediately recognized the door opening potential for this drop out.

Once the article came out in the Times about my meeting with City Counsel doors immediately appeared open. My neighbor whom I had previously volunteered to climb on his roof and nail some shingles down saw the article and when I mentioned it to him as I walked passed one day he said, "That guys name was Mark Wynn wasn't it?" I said, "That's me" and He said, "I'm a loan officer at a bank. If you're serious come see me." At the time my credit was kind of wrecked from student loans and I said that, and he repeated, "but I'm the loan officer." So that was set in motion for reals.

Within a month of operating Mobile Mark's Pedicab a passenger I picked up at The Boat Club was so impressed he offered me a job on the spot. He owned Waterford Tank and Fabrication.

He asked me if I wanted to learn to weld for the petroleum industry. I said of course but I just took out a loan for this pedicab and felt obligated to ride this out before changing course. Two years later I called that guy and he remembered me and I got the job.

After the first year the shop manager came up to me one day and said, "The owner really fuckin likes you. He just told me we got to get that guy a raise." He told me that's the first time he ever said that. I started out at $11 an hour and within 3 years was making $48,000. All because I recognized the door opening potential of an joke I had.

I realized the potential of the pedicab to "get me in someone's head" like a professional fighter tries to do to an opponent. After this I even peddled the pedicab all the way to Beverly (33miles) on my day off in the chance that some coworkers would see me and talk about it at work. Monday at work the grumpiest SOB at Waterford Tank passed me and said with a huge smile that he passed me two times yesterday on that damn bike! Imagine...

I had this now familiar idea one day while kneading dough here in Chile and I passed the idea on to this young meathead I know. I said, "You could open some doors in your small town by trying to sell bread door to door to support your single mom during this pandemic.

I told him of course some people will scoff and call you a douche but it only takes one person to notice your industry and they will never forget you. In a few years if not sooner, you may be offered a job by this guy because he will remember you think differently.

Yesterday on fb I saw an news article... I think it was NPR about a kid in England baking bread for his neighbors. The whole world knows who this kid is! I guarantee the kids town will never forget. How is this not going to positively effect his opportunities in the future.

So even though my one important lesson I've learned in 48 years of waiting around on Earth for something to happen may be wasted on this beloved nincompoop maybe one of you other wise and inquisitive types may find this of interest.

PS I guess I learned two important lessons. Random acts of kindness do matter. Also other incidents of note while pedicabbing was the Mayor called me at my house one night at about 10pm to give me a heads up on machinations by city council to put me out of business which led to a mayoral candidate named John Grimm screaming at me on a street corner... I literally peddled away slowly shouting back, "I guess someones a mad genius!" followed by the loudest Mwahahaha! I could muster, but that's a story for another time.

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