From Popeye Cigarettes to The Flow of Money

My very first job was at our local convenience store.  I’m not counting my local paper route.

One day I was in there buying my favourite candy, Popeye Cigarettes, and the guy who owned the store, and who basically lived in it 24/7, leans over the counter and says, “Hey, do you want a job?”

Being an agreeable sort of fellow … especially back then … I jumped on it and started stocking shelves with Coca Cola and Pepsi products a few times a week … after school and on weekends.

I even got to stock up the shelves with Popeye Cigarettes.  It was heaven.

My pay?   $3.50/hour.  Cash.

I was 13 years old I think.

After a few months, the sight of dead mice in the back and the sticky cola residue on my shoes started to bother me a little.

I always did my work but I wasn’t as excited about it as I once was.

I remember back then wondering why that was.

Then, Summer rolled around and our father asked if I wanted to work in his construction drywall business.

Now, when my father asked something back then, it was more like I was being told I was going to do something.  He just happened to phrase his statement in the form of a question.

So naturally, I agreed.

I gave notice to the convenience store owners and marched on.  Sometimes I still drive by that store and take my son for kicks.

My new construction gig was going to pay me $8.50/hour which was insanely HUGE.  I mean I thought I had hit the jackpot.

On the first day, my father dropped me off at a job site in Toronto.  It was a three level hotel being built on the north side of a large park.

He introduced me to the job foreman and left.  I was on my own in a whole new world.

My job?