by Donald K. Sanders
My friend Steve retired this week. I don’t think he knows exactly how he feels about this, but I am simply elated. I think that we’re like two peas from the same pod.
For over half of his life (at this point in time) Steve worked one of those high stress jobs that would drive a normal man to the depths of despair. That’s where I come in.
Steve and I are Buds. When we do something or go somewhere we do it for one reason. We want to relax and have fun. Well, I guess that’s two reasons but who’s counting.
I write about Steve and our exploits all the time. So much in fact that some people have asked me if I’m gay for him. Well I can tell you that this is not the case, at least I don’t think I am. Na, I’m not. I can tell you that, for sure.
Anyway, if you would happen to see the two of us together you would probably think. “Man, that Don Sanders guy is really, really, good looking.” Also, it might not be readily apparent what we have in common.
No, we’re not off in the bushes playing “kissy face” as you might suspect. What we have in common is mental. I know that if you know Steve, you would find this hard to believe. Steve is not very mental.
The fact of the matter is that we are able to talk to each other about things that we would not normally discuss with others. You see, both of us, in our life experiences, have had to deal with human behavior in its worst form.
I’m sure that this is true of most people. We all have seen bad things and I’m sure that we all would describe this experience as evil. I know this is true.
When it comes to Steve and I, well, my bad experience was of the worst nature in the form of warfare and Steve’s was slightly different but his experience was stretched out on a daily basis for over half of his life.
Yep, that’s it. What we have in common is brutal and unrelenting inside of our little noggins. Bad thoughts about what we have seen or experienced are just banging and bouncing around inside our heads.
Steve would tell me things about what happened at work that he might not tell other people. When I say he had a high stress job, I mean high stress. It is really unbelievable, the things that some people have to do and see while working. All to make a comfortable life for your family and loved ones.
I know that you are all wondering what Steve’s job was but for that answer you will have to ask Steve. I wouldn’t go there though because you will open up a can of worms that you can’t put a stopper in. On and on and on, the story will go. It never ends. I call Steve “Motor Mouth” behind his back.
Yeah, when Steve wants to relax or talk about something he comes to see me. One time his wife Kellie told him that he had to stop bringing “junk” home because they were running out of room.
He came over to see me so maybe we could figure out why Kellie would consider all of this good stuff to be “junk.” Well this went on for some time and, I don’t know how, but before I knew it my wife Therese says, ”Tell Steve not to bring any more junk over.”
So as it turns out, when Kellie calls something “junk” it is not without merit. I was amazed when I looked around my yard to see plows, harnesses, grinding wheels, and old metal five gallon milk jugs. I thought, “When did he bring all of that junk over here?”
It’s like magic! Junk is attracted to Steve like metal to a magnet. I hadn’t noticed, but every time Steve came over to “talk,” he was bringing over a piece of junk that Kellie wouldn’t let him keep. Now my wife was all up at arms wanting me to move this junk around the yard.
She says, “Can’t you stack it all behind the shed?” Well, I could do that, but then my neighbor, Jose, would take a stick and push the pile back over into my yard. What would that gain?
Another reason Steve and I hang out is “rock hunting”. We are like the primo rock hunters of Winters, California. Now we’ve been asked not to bring any more rocks home. Will the agony never end!
To make matters worse, there’s a new rock hunter in town that everyone says is a better rock hunter than we are. This cannot be true, but I worry about it all the time. He doesn’t rock hunt to have fun, like us, he does it for a job.
Steve and I don’t get paid like he does, and people don’t call us “professor” or “archeologist” either. So Steve comes up with this idea to get even. He tells me that we have to make up a diploma on Photoshop that says we are professors too.
Well it didn’t take long, because I know how to draw pictures on a computer, until we had a nice looking diploma. It said: University of Tennessee, Greetings, Professors of Archeology, Donald Sanders and Steven Shafer, Rock Hunters Extraordinaire. (Sounds French)
I emailed this to rock hunter Andy Tremayne. He was probably pretty impressed and showed it to his friends at his lab at UC Davis.